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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.
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THE CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state it.
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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.
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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
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Mr. PAUL. I thank the Chair for the clarification.
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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
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.