Sigh. I knew shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up about the recommendations presented by Secretary Kemp’s Electoral Advisory Board, but I did. And now it looks like the proposed revisions Georgia’s onerous ballot access law is dead.
While I’m not entirely sure that House leadership was behind the proposed changes to begin with, and I have reason to believe that they weren’t; but on the other hand, I know Speaker Ralston has been friendly to this issue in the past. But unfortunately, looks like the perfect was the enemy of the good; at least that’s what the report filed by Maggie Lee tells us:
[A]fter initial signs that the state Legislature would pass [ballot access reform], it now looks dead.
It’s been stripped out of an omnibus update of voting laws which was approved by a state House Governmental Affairs subcommittee.
There’s no problem with the merit of the proposal, said Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, but he removed it on the grounds that ballot access activists are contacting legislators and saying, sometimes “angrily,” that they want more than a 25 percent cut.
“I decided as well as some others, OK, if you’re accusing us of doing nothing, fine, we’ll do nothing,” he told the committee as he suggested leaving it behind. After the hearing, Hamilton said he’d like to “find the right balance” on the signature quota.
The committee unanimously supported his move to shift the other parts of the omnibus law to House Bill 899, which will carry them through the Legislature.
Hamilton said he’ll commit to holding a hearing on a ballot access bill next year if Kidd files one.
That’s just awesome. You know, I’ve never been too thrilled with our ballot access laws nor some of the tricks used to try to make them more difficult for independents and third parties to deal with, but this proposal was better than what is currently on the books.
Politics is, as they say, the art of compromise. You’re never going to get everything you want in a particular bill or policy proposal. Do I believe that third parties should be given the same ballot access as Democrats and Republicans? Absolutely, on principle. But I know getting the same treatment is just not realistic. We have to take baby steps, and anything we get that is better than the current should be considered a win. This is what we call incrementalism; though such a term is strangely looked down upon by some people.
So what has happened is language backed the Secretary of State has ostensibly been flushed down the toilet because a certain voter advocacy group didn’t bother explaining to its members to be polite and respectful when dealing with legislators.
Brilliant work, guys. Please go back to wearing your tinfoil hats while whining about Diebold and other patently absurd conspiracy theories now that you’ve killed what semblence of ballot access reform we could have gotten. Thanks for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.