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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 86

Ballot Access — Part 1

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30 July 1998


The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of Friday, July 17, 1998, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 5 minutes in support of his amendment.

1998 Ron Paul 86:1
POINT OF ORDER
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, point of order.

THE CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state it.

1998 Ron Paul 86:2
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I believe this is a perfecting amendment, it is not in the nature of a substitute, and that has been cleared in the Committee on Rules.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk designated it as an amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute.

1998 Ron Paul 86:3
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, both amendments that I have should be perfecting amendments, and if permissible, I ask unanimous consent that they both be accepted as such.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. It is an amendment to the amendment in the nature of a substitute. The gentleman is amending the Shays-Meehan amendment in the nature of a substitute as permitted by the rules.

1998 Ron Paul 86:4
Mr. PAUL. I thank the Chair for the clarification.

1998 Ron Paul 86:5
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

1998 Ron Paul 86:6
Mr. Chairman, my amendment is very simple. It is an amendment that deals with equity and fairness, so I would expect essentially no opposition to this.

1998 Ron Paul 86:7
It simply lowers and standardizes the signature requirements and the time required to get signatures to get a Federal candidate on the ballot. There are very many unfair rules and regulations by the States that make it virtually impossible for many candidates to get on the ballot.

1998 Ron Paul 86:8
Mr. Chairman, I want to make 4 points about the amendment. First, it is constitutional to do this. Article I, section 4, explicitly authorizes the U.S. Congress to, “At any time by law make or alter such regulations regarding the manner of holding elections.” This is the authority that was used for the Voters Rights Act of 1965.

1998 Ron Paul 86:9
The second point I would like to make is an issue of fairness. Because of the excess petition requirements put on by so many States and the short period of time required, many individuals are excluded from the ballot, and for this reason, this should be corrected. There are some States, take, for instance, Georgia, wrote a law in 1943. There has not been one minor party candidate on the ballot since 1943, because it cannot meet the requirements. This is unfair. This amendment would correct this.

1998 Ron Paul 86:10
Number 3, the third point. In contrast to some who would criticize an amendment like this by saying that there would be overcrowding on the ballot, there have been statistical studies made of States where the number of requirements, of signature requirements are very low, and the time very generous. Instead of overcrowding, they have an average of 3.3 candidates per ballot.

1998 Ron Paul 86:11
Now, this is very important also because it increases interest and increases turnout. Today, turnout has gone down every year in the last 20 or 30 years, there has been a steady decline in interest. This amendment would increase the interest and increase the turnout.

1998 Ron Paul 86:12
The fourth point that I would like to make is that the setup and the situation we have now is so unfair, many are concerned about how money is influencing the elections. But in this case, rules and regulations are affecting minor candidates by pushing up the cost of the election, where they cannot afford the money to even get on the ballot, so it is very unfair in a negative sense that the major parties penalize any challengers. And the correction would come here by equalizing this, making it more fair, and I would expect, I think, just everybody to agree that this is an amendment of fairness and equity and should be accepted.

1998 Ron Paul 86:13
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Note:

1998 Ron Paul 86:13 Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time. Ron Paul resumes consumption of said time in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 87.

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