Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gingrich struggles with state deadlines, while Indiana's signatures come under scrutiny

I started this blog after some negative experiences with voters on a day I was out collecting signatures for Mitt Romney to get on the ballot in Virginia. I was accused of all sorts of things that day, but the most interesting fallacy lobbed at me was that no other candidates were out collecting signatures. Maybe those supposedly well-informed voters just haven't been paying enough attention, because the state-by-state requirement to collect signatures is a hot topic this week.
Newt Gingrich may be suddenly enjoying a skyrocketing rise in the polls, and we will assume in his war chest as well, but his tardy to the party style is actually hurting him where it matters most- getting on the ballots. Each state has different rules for getting a candidate on the ballot for the state caucuses or primaries. (In Virginia a candidate must collect 10,000 signatures state-wide by mid-December.) Gingrich has already missed the requirements for getting on the Missouri ballot. The Missouri primary will be held on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.* Candidates for the presidential primary from Missouri's "established political parties" (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Constitution) had to have 5,000 collected signatures filed by 5 p.m. on November 22, 2011.
Gingrich now faces possibly missing the Ohio deadline as well. Ohio is a part of the first major "Super Tuesday" on March 6, 2012. The Gingrich campaign is scrambling to turn in the required 1,000 signatures today** by 4pm. (See below for a big asterisk on confusing, emerging information, that will likely lead to a court battle by unhappy candidates in the near future.)

Mitt Romney's political director Rich Beeson pointed out that the best time to collect signatures — during the previous general and primary elections — has passed. (Which is exactly what this writer was doing.) Of course, it goes to note that back on November 8 when other campaigns were out collecting signatures, Gingrich was still battling Rick Perry for third place.
Not surprisingly the Gingrich team is blaming the complicated system (that all of the other candidates managed to work with) rather than admit that he and his team messed up. The mark of a true politician!
Meanwhile, in Indiana, a voter fraud investigation is underway as it is suspected that at least 150 collected petition signatures for now-President Obama were forgeries. Obama only collected 534 signatures in St. Joseph County, where a minimum of 500 were needed. (The Clinton campaign collected 704.) Without the forgeries, Obama would not have made it on to the ballot. (Note: in the final election Obama beat McCain with 58% of the vote in St. Joseph's County.)

Washington Times "Gingrich struggles with state deadlines for filing"
Talking Points Memo "Newt Catches a Break on the Ohio Filing Deadline"
Fox News "2008 Voter Fraud Investigation Heats Up in Indiana"

*(Point of confusing clarification from different sources: Missouri will hold its primary on February 7th, 2012, but this will not count for delegates toward the 2012 GOP convention. The Missouri Republican Party will hold a caucus on March 17th, 2012, which will determine the delegates sent to the 2012 GOP convention.)
**In Ohio, the deadline for filing to be on the primary ballot is 90 days before the primary on March 14, 2012 (in other words, today, December 7, 2011.) However, a new law has made its way through the state legislature moving the primary back to June, and effectively the state filing deadline. However, it gets a little tricky here because the new law won't be enacted until January 20, 2012. Making story even more complicated, according to Matt McClellan, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State, is that the candidates were advised by the Secretary’s office to adhere to the old December deadline just in case the legislature again changed the date of the primary (which it has done a few times in the last few months). So in other words, Gingrich et al better make that filing deadline today in order to be safer than sorry.

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