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Reform Institute issues report on presidential-candidate ballot-access rules

From a Reform Institute press release: Raising large sums of money, building an organization and attracting grassroots support are among the many challenges facing those who seek the highest office in the land. However, one of the greatest obstacles to candidates for the presidency is simply getting their name on the ballot. Presidential Ballot Access: State by State Report Card, a new report from the Reform Institute, a nonpartisan public policy group, provides a comprehensive analysis of the complex and often overwhelming process of getting a candidate placed on the ballot in all fifty states.

The report finds that campaigns face a daunting task in navigating the varied and sometimes Byzantine procedures required by each state. For Independent and third party candidates, the undertaking can be downright Herculean. These candidates often face considerable obstacles, such as petition signature requirements that are higher than those required for candidates from the major parties. The result is that electoral competition and correspondingly, voter participation, suffers.

“We are currently seeing in both the Democratic and Republican primaries that when the contests are competitive and voters have real choices, voter participation is strong and interest and involvement in the process increases significantly,” stated Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director of the Reform Institute. “As more voters become dissatisfied with politics as usual and look beyond the two traditional parties for solutions, it is critical that they have ample options on the ballot.”

Presidential Ballot Access provides a state-by-state examination of ballot access requirements and grades each state on whether the rules are reasonable and equitable across party lines. The report card focuses on petition signature requirements and registration fees because they are consistent variables across states and they represent the most common means of limiting ballot access. -- Limiting Ballot Access Means Limiting Voter Choice

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