Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Registered Candidates

I have a few questions about changing the City Charter to only allow eligible registered candidates to fill a vacant position. This is mostly in response to the public comments made by Bill Eddy at the 11/17/09 City Council meeting and on Mike and Brendan's discussion during 508 #93.

-Will we prevent a last minute write in/sticker campaign from happening during a general election? The beauty of a democracy is our ability to vote for whomever we choose, not just from the slate of candidate(s) who choose to run, have the assets, time and staff.

-What happens in an instance like the 2008 13th District race? Bob Spellane faced a last minute challenge from John Mahoney after details regarding Rep. Spellane's personal and campaign finances become public. What if something like that happens in a city race, and some voters decide to challenge a registered candidate after the deadline for registering as a candidate?

2008 Results, 16,360 votes cast
Spellane: 7861 (48%)
Mahoney: 4916 (30%)
Write in: 191 (1%)
Blank: 3392 (21%)

Mahoney's sticker campaign materialized in the last two weeks leading up to the election, and 30% of the votes cast were for him. If you add in the other write ins and blanks, 52% of voters didn't want Spellane as their representative. Should we disenfranchise a large percentage of voters because their candidate didn't register and get enough signatures?

-I believe that the signature drives needed for a campaign is a blessing and a boon. Yes, it keeps frivolous candidates off the ballot, but it also acts as an impediment to citizen participation in government. Voter apathy and our two party system creates a government that only answers to the machines and interests that support their candidacy, and not the whole electorate.

-If there aren't any registered candidates, what happens in a year where we are facing budget shortfalls and we need to hold a special election to fill the seat? Where will the money come from?
On a final note, I would suggest that our elected officials finish their terms and not use our city government as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Then we wouldn't have to worry about Frank Raffa and his last minute campaign.

And for the record, I know who finished after Bill Eddy....I voted for them, and they are qualified!


Nicole said...

Regarding Bill Eddy, I'm actually disappointed that my husband's candidate, Bozo the Clown, didn't come in second.

I find the whole Raffa thing kind of funny, mostly because I'm not convinced that Guy Glodis could win a state-wide Democratic primary.

Also, there are two write-in candidates for Senate: Bill "Worcester's own perennial candidate" Coleman and Joe "No Relation" Kennedy. I'll likely vote for one or the other, so my response to your poll would be "write in" :)

SFD said...

I always make it a point to write in a candidate whenever an incumbent is running unopposed. The whole point of a democracy is to keep them honest, and knowing that there is competition and dissenting voices out there makes the pols pay attention.