I attended a Candidate Forum at the Golden Gate Community Center last Tuesday where the Supervisor of Elections set up a mock election. I, like most voters, naturally assumed that all candidates who qualified to be on our ballots in November would be on this mock ballot because it was run by the SOE using the same ballot format, voting booths and ballot reader they’ll use in November.
Imagine my surprise when I tried to vote for my favorite candidate and his name was missing from the ballot. In the race for Attorney General, there were only three candidates listed. But I know there is a fourth – my candidate, Bill Wohlsifer. I asked the Supervisor of Elections how they could exclude my candidate who met the same criteria and paid the same $7,738.32 fee to qualify to be on our ballots as the other three? The SOE told me: “The organizers of the event choose who to put on the mock ballot” as if I should be fine with that answer. I’m not. I never imagined that the government could be hired to handicap candidates.
Exclusion from polls, forums and media are exactly how the voters’ impression of a candidate’s viability is diminished. It starts locally and then by the time we get to the elections, no one will vote for the candidate who is perceived as “not viable” – even though the only tests of their viability were the things they were excluded from. I understand not opening the mock process to write in candidates, but all those who went through the ballot access process and paid the same fees should be given equal treatment, especially if public resources are used. A list of all candidates who qualified to be on the ballot is available from the Supervisor of Elections. In fact, I am surprised the Supervisor of Elections did not suggest that the organizers of this event give equal treatment to all who qualified under identical requirements.
Maybe it wasn’t done in a malicious way. Perhaps he was excluded out of neglect. But the exclusion of Bill Wohlsifer’s name in this public event which used public resources and looked “so official” has now diminished his viability in the voters’ minds. Nan Rich supporters should be livid too, as her name was excluded from the Gubernatorial race on these ballots. What is the sense of holding a candidate forum for the public to meet the candidates if you’re going to hide some of the candidates from them? Isn’t that steering? Real Estate agents aren’t even allowed to do that. How can it be legal for a government agency to participate in steering?
by: Jo Vaccarino
picked up by Live Free