Dear Georgia Legislator:
This last election cycle revealed the surprising information that candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency do not have to satisfy any eligibility requirements. Apparently no election officials seriously evaluate and verify the eligibility of candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency:
Several states have proposed legislation to correct this oversight, requiring that candidates demonstrate their eligibility before being placed on the ballot. Currently, the best pending legislation on this issue is probably Arizona Bill SB 1158:
However, Oklahoma also has a similar pending bill (HB 1329) and Pennsylvania has Bill Number 2837 addressing the same issue.
Perhaps now that the election has passed is a good time for Georgia to consider similar legislation.
I think that requiring candidates to show they are eligible to appear on the ballot is not particularly burdensome and is just reasonable and prudent:
- An ineligible candidate who has been elected to an office is subject
to extortion and blackmail, since anyone who has evidence of the ineligibility or who claims to have evidence of the ineligibility will have undue influence and leverage over the individual and his or her office. The elected ineligible candidate might very well make decisions that are colored by this undue influence to appease those threatening to expose the ineligible office-holder.
- The eligibility requirements are part of the US Constitution and many
state Constitutions and laws. If we choose to ignore some of the eligibility provisions of these constitutions and laws, we will send a strong signal of disrespect for all of these constitutions and laws. It is the first step towards discarding these important principles on which our system is founded. It is in direct contradiction to the sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution which many take, including elected officials, members of the armed services, federal judges and others.
- A usurper in public office might very well have divided loyalties,
and make decisions that show evidence of bias.
- The legality of laws passed by a usurper in public office is unclear,
and might very well lead to a constitutional crisis. It is preferable to avoid this situation altogether by just ensuring that those seeking public office are eligible to hold the office.
- Once an ineligible candidate has obtained office, it is much harder
and more expensive to remove them from office than it would have been to just keep them off the ballot.
- This is clearly a "states rights" issue. States that do not exercise
their rights, privileges and powers will eventually lose them, which might very well be detrimental.
- Members of our society are asked to produce documentation to drive an
automobile or enter the military or obtain a library card or avail themselves of other societal benefits. Therefore, requiring candidates to produce documentation supporting their eligibility to hold the office can not be characterized as an undue burden.
- There are an immense number of illegal aliens using false papers in
our society (as many as 1 out of 10 people or so). Therefore, it is not unreasonable to require that the best possible documentation be presented to support claims of eligibility.
This is just the sort of procedure that should be expected in a modern society where identification is frequently required to drive an automobile or cash a check, among many other tasks.
Attachment: Draft of Arizona Bill SB 1158
AMENDING SECTIONS 16-341 AND 16-507, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES; RELATING TO CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona: Section 1. Section 16-341, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read: 16-341. Nomination petition; method and time of filing; form; qualifications and number of petitioners required A. Any qualified elector who is not a registered member of a political party that is recognized pursuant to this title may be nominated as a candidate for public office otherwise than by primary election or by party committee pursuant to this section. B. This article shall not be used to place on the general election ballot the name of a political party which fails to meet the qualifications specified in section 16-802 or 16-804, or the name of any candidate representing such party or the name of a candidate who has filed a nomination petition in the immediately preceding primary election and has failed to qualify as the result of an insufficient number of valid signatures. C. A nomination petition stating the name of the office to be filled, the name and residence of the candidate and other information required by this section shall be filed at the same time and with the same officer with whom primary nomination papers and petitions are required to be filed as prescribed in section 16-311. The petition shall be signed only by voters who have not signed the nomination petitions of a candidate for the office to be voted for at that primary election. D. The nomination petition shall be in substantially the following form: "The undersigned, qualified electors of __________ county, state of Arizona, do hereby nominate __________, who resides at __________ in the county of __________, as a candidate for the office of __________ at the general (or special, as the case may be) election to be held on the __________ day of __________, _____. I hereby declare that I have not signed the nomination petitions of any candidate for the office to be voted for at this primary election, and I do hereby select the following designation under which name the said candidate shall be placed on the official ballot (here insert such designation not exceeding three words in length as the signers may select)." E. The nomination petition shall conform as nearly as possible to the provisions relating to nomination petitions of candidates to be voted for at primary elections and shall be signed by at least the number of persons who are registered to vote determined by calculating three per cent of the persons who are registered to vote of the state, county, subdivision or district for which the candidate is nominated who are not members of a political party that is qualified to be represented by an official party ballot at the next ensuing primary election and accorded representation on the general election ballot. F. The percentage of persons who are registered to vote necessary to sign the nomination petition shall be determined by the total number of registered voters from other than political parties that are qualified to be represented by an official party ballot at the next ensuing primary election and accorded representation on the general election ballot in the state, county, subdivision or district on March 1 of the year in which the general election is held. Notwithstanding the method prescribed by subsection E of this section and this subsection for calculating the minimum number of signatures necessary, any person who is registered to vote in the state, county, subdivision or district for which the candidate is nominated is eligible to sign the nomination petition without regard to the signer's party affiliation. G. For the purposes of this section, a nomination petition for the office of presidential elector shall include a group of names of candidates equal to the number of United States senators and representatives in Congress from this state instead of separate nomination petitions for each candidate for the office of presidential elector. A valid signature on a petition containing a group of presidential electors candidates is counted as a signature for the nomination of each of the candidates. The presidential candidate whom the candidates for presidential elector will represent shall designate in writing to the secretary of state the names of the candidates who will represent the presidential candidate before any signatures for the candidate can be accepted for filing. H. A person who files a nomination paper pursuant to this section for the office of president of the United States shall designate in writing to the secretary of state at the time of filing the name of the candidate's vice-presidential running mate, the names of the presidential electors who will represent that candidate and a statement that is signed by the vice-presidential running mate and the designated presidential electors and that indicates their consent to be designated. A nomination paper for each presidential elector designated shall be filed with the candidate's nomination paper. The number of presidential electors shall equal the number of United States senators and representatives in Congress from this state. WITHIN TEN DAYS AFTER FILING THE NOMINATION PAPER, A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SHALL SUBMIT AN AFFIDAVIT IN WHICH THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE STATES THE CANDIDATE'S CITIZENSHIP AND AGE AND SHALL APPEND TO THE AFFIDAVIT DOCUMENTS THAT PROVE THAT THE CANDIDATE IS A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN, PROVE THE CANDIDATE'S AGE AND PROVE THAT THE CANDIDATE MEETS THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AS PRESCRIBED IN ARTICLE II, SECTION 1, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. I. A candidate who does not file a timely nomination petition that complies with this section is not eligible to have the candidate's name printed on the official ballot for that office. The filing officer shall not accept the nomination paper of a candidate for state or local office unless the candidate provides or has provided all of the following: 1. The nomination petition required by this title. 2. A political committee statement of organization or the five hundred dollar threshold exemption statement for that office. 3. The financial disclosure statement as prescribed for candidates for that office. Sec. 2. Section 16-507, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read: 16-507. Presentation of presidential electors on ballot; notice; affidavit A. When presidential electors are to be voted for, the candidates therefor of each party shall be grouped and printed together, arranged in each group in alphabetical order, and the entire group of electors of each party shall be enclosed in a scroll or bracket to the right and opposite the center on which shall be printed in bold type the surname of the presidential candidate represented. To the right of and on a line with the surname shall be placed a square in which the voter may indicate his choice by a mark as defined in section 16-400, and one mark opposite a group of presidential electors shall be counted as a vote for each elector in such group. B. THE NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEE FOR A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT FOR A PARTY THAT IS ENTITLED TO CONTINUED REPRESENTATION ON THE BALLOT SHALL PROVIDE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE WRITTEN NOTICE OF THAT POLITICAL PARTY'S NOMINATION OF ITS CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT. WITHIN TEN DAYS AFTER SUBMITTAL OF THE NAMES OF THE CANDIDATES, THE NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEE SHALL SUBMIT AN AFFIDAVIT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN WHICH THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE STATES THE CANDIDATE'S CITIZENSHIP AND AGE AND SHALL APPEND TO THE AFFIDAVIT DOCUMENTS THAT PROVE THAT THE CANDIDATE IS A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN, PROVE THE CANDIDATE'S AGE AND PROVE THAT THE CANDIDATE MEETS THE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AS PRESCRIBED IN ARTICLE II, SECTION 1, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.