Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ballot Access Laws are Rigged Against Independent & Third Party Candidates

Press release from Free and Equal sent to

Ralph Nader and Ron Paul, two of the most outspoken political leaders of our time, don’t agree all that often. But one thing they both understand is that the American political system is rigged against independent and third party candidates.

Restrictive ballot access laws across the nation prevent voters from having a real choice in who they vote for.

And the Democratic and Republican machines intend to keep it that way.

Former Nader campaign manager Theresa Amato’s new book Grand Illusion presents a scathing indictment of the current state of ballot access in America.

Grand Illusion recounts the story of the Democratic Party’s attempt to boot Nader out of the 2004 Presidential election, and offers insight into other recent independent and third party campaigns. Amato also lays out specific reform steps that can be taken to improve the state of ballot access in this country.

In this video, consumer advocate and three-time Presidential candidate Ralph Nader lays the failures of our government at the feet of the Two-Party Tyranny. He encourages Americans to read the Grand Illusion and to get motivated to take our nation back from the two corporate controlled parties.

In a statement released last week, Congressman Ron Paul commended the work of Free & Equal Elections, and also endorsed Amato’s new book.

“Our laws are stacked against any real third alternative in the two-party monopoly. By and large, candidates must conform to the system or have difficulty even getting on ballots. Americans deserve better, and across the country, people are waking up and working hard to remove unfair barriers. We deserve a system where third parties can compete, and Democrats and Republicans are held to their platforms and rhetoric. I am impressed by the work of the Free & Equal Elections Foundation, and commend them for their leadership on this issue.

Theresa Amato has experienced the unfairness of our system like few others. Her new book “Grand Illusion” is an important contribution that anyone serious about ballot access reform should read. I thank Theresa for sharing her experiences with us and know her book will make a difference.”

To read the full statement from Congressman Paul, Click Here.

Part personal memoir, part political history, part exposé and part impassioned call for electoral reform, Grand Illusion provides a blow-by-blow account of some of the 24 harassing complaints that the Democrats and their allies filed within 12 weeks to remove Nader from the ballot in 18 states. At least 95 lawyers from 53 law firms nationwide joined the effort to stifle Nader’s insurgent campaign.

Nader prevailed in most states, but Grand Illusion will make citizens wonder: How democratic is an electoral process that forces millions of American voters to choose between just two parties, while freezing out competing candidacies and new ideas?

To prevent such abuse and manipulation of the electoral process in the future, in Grand Illusion Amato proposes a number of practical and easy-to-implement reforms, to replace 50 different, and in some cases discriminatory state ballot access laws. Amato also recounts details of behind-the-scenes conversations with presidential candidate John Kerry, and with Howard Dean, who followed McAuliffe as DNC chairman.

Nader filed a federal lawsuit in 2007 and an FEC complaint in 2008 against McAuliffe, the DNC and others who helped finance and coordinate the attempt to suppress Nader’s 2004 presidential candidacy. Both actions are still pending.

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