Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's hard out here for an independent

If you want evidence of how state laws help promote and protect the two-party system, look no further than this interesting piece in today's Durango Herald.
La Plata County Commissioner Joelle Riddle switched from the Democratic Party to unaffiliated status, and state Sen. Bruce Whitehead went in the opposite direction - from an unaffiliated nonpolitical career to Democrat - to run in the Nov. 2 general election.
Each simply wants to carry on work already begun.
But it appears Whitehead will have the easier row to hoe.
Under state law, candidates who want their name on the Nov. 2 ballot must file by June 15. They also must have been affiliated with a political party or have been unaffiliated for at least a year before the deadline.
Riddle should have disaffiliated from the Democratic Party by June 15, 2009, but she didn't make her move until Aug. 21. As it stands now, her only alternative is to run as a write-in candidate, a distinct disadvantage, she says.
Parties can set their own deadlines and thresholds for who can be a candidate under their banner, but independents have a pretty high hurdle under state laws.  So it's a lot easier to join a party and get on the ballot than it is to leave a party and get on the ballot.

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