When running for an elected position a qualified candidate should not lay victim to the biases of nonprofit political groups, no matter what letter follows that person’s name. Just like the other two establishment candidates Bill Wohlsifer met every prerequisite to run for the position of Attorney General, yet had his name left off of the presumptively official voter guides published by the League of Women Voters. This occurred even though Mr. Wohlsifer completed the same questionnaire as the other candidates, and had turned it in with enough time to be included in the literature.
When a person or entity releases voter guides to the voting public in taxpayer funded buildings they should be required to include all candidates who have met the state qualifications, and worked with the groups to give them any information they need for their publications. If this fails to occur than the Division of Elections has done nothing less than committed fraud and assisted in directly alienating candidates who have been willfully ignored by the groups who hypocritically preach tolerance and brag about their goals of equality.
If a nonprofit group, such as the League of Women Voters, claims to be nonpartisan the literature they produce should reflect this claim. Nonpartisanship should not be cleverly disguised behind the thin veil of bipartisanship, by shielding themselves behind the lie of nonpartisanship they are using their influence with the expressed and intended interest of interfering with the outcome of an election by silencing a portion of the voters and claiming they have the right to do so. This alone should cause them to lose their standing as a nonprofit organization.
If these groups want to distribute their biased literature they must relinquish their nonprofit status, then by utilizing grassroots channels, such as going door-to-door, paying for mail outs with private funds, or attending public functions and handing them out to passersby, their practices will be within the law. Until their nonprofit status is taken from them, and they continue to use taxpayer funded buildings and offices for the dispensing of their propaganda they, and the counties who allow them to act in such a manner, are in violation of Florida statutes forbidding them from supplying such information which is considered suppressive toward certain candidates.
Florida citizens have no choice to pay taxes to support buildings such as libraries and public schools. This applies to all people. Which means all people should have their voices represented on any and all guides being distributed at tax-payer funded locations and events. There should be a requirement that the names of all qualified candidates in every race is presented on any literature being distributed at these locations.
It is due to an apathetic nature of the Division of Elections, and the general wariness of politics by the general voting public that groups have been able to get away with blackballing qualified candidates. It is due to this fact that Bill Wohlsifer has found himself forced to file six separate complaints with the Secretary of State against matters affecting all of elections throughout the state of Florida. This is a waste of time and personal expenses to any candidate who is attempting to run a professional and successful campaign.
When a voter watches a debate or reads an article that does not include all candidates they will be on the ballot, the reader/voter may be tempted to disregard the omitted candidate(s) believing that these groups see them as not important enough to include in their guides. This is the desired result of people who are attempting to keep the public from being truly engaged and educated in the voting process. Groups that engage in these actions should be found guilty of “steering” by an ethics committee, stripped of their nonprofit status, and forced to reprint all of the guides that left out qualified candidates as part of their punishment.
Matt Wright is a writer and political activist living in south Florida. He has a BS in communications and is currently working for the Bill Wohlsifer for Attorney General campaign. To hear more from Matt you can follow him on Twitter at @mrwright79 or like him on Facebook.