Grading Ballot Access. Romney and Paul Make Honor Roll While Gingrich is Failing. (Updated)



Ballot access is one of the most important aspects in any campaign, if you can’t get on a ballot, you can’t win.  Each state has its own rules, requirements, and deadlines.  Some requirements are incredibly easy, others fairly hard.  For instance in Arizona, you have to fill out a piece of paper, pretty simple.  However in Virginia you must get 10,000 signatures from across the state.  Many states use a ‘media recognition’ threshold, where the state party determines if you have the media recognition that comes with a credible candidacy, and that will get you on the ballot.

I imagine it can be difficult to keep 50 sets of rules straight, but that is where a good campaign organization comes in.  The struggles several candidates are having with ballot access may be a reflection of a lack of campaign organization.

States Whose Deadlines Have Passed

Virginia:

  • Requirement: 10,000 signatures
  • Deadline: 12/22
  • On Ballot: Romney, Paul
  • Not On Ballot: Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, and Huntsmann
  • Delegates at Stake: 49

Many are familiar with the issue regarding Virginia’s ballot access, as Perry, Santorum, Gingrich and Huntsmann all failed to meet the requirements to get on the ballot.  Virginia has the most difficult requirement at 10,000 signatures.  Perry initiated a lawsuit claiming the rules were unfair and an undue burden on candidates.  Santorum, Gingrich and Huntsmann followed suit, adding their names to Perry’s lawsuit.  The deadline has passed, so unless the lawsuit can be settled before Virginia’s March 6th primary, Romney and Paul will split the 49 delegates as they will be proportionally allocated.

District of Columbia:

  • Requirement: 296 signatures + $5,000 or $10,000 without signatures.
  • Deadline: 1/4
  • On Ballot: Romney, Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Huntsmann
  • Not On Ballot: Santorum
  • Delegates at Stake: 19

This one is difficult to justify missing.  The only requirement was cash and some paperwork.  Although Santorum does not have a deep war chest, I have a feeling he could scrape together $10,000, so it is likely that someone in the organization dropped the ball on the paperwork while all their focus was on Iowa.

Missouri:

  • Requirement: $1,000 or 5,000 signatures
  • Deadline: 11/22
  • On Ballot: Romney, Santorum, Paul, Perry, Huntsmann
  • Not on Ballot: Gingrich
  • Delegates at Stake: 52

This one is even more difficult to justify missing.  Only a $1,000 check and some paperwork by the Gingrich campaign would have got him on the ballot.  Too bad Missouri doesn’t accept a Tiffany’s charge card.  Those potential 52 delegates are now out of reach for Gingrich.

States With Deadlines Approaching

Illinois:

  • Requirement: 3,000 signatures
  • Deadline: 1/6
  • On Ballot as of Today: Romney, Paul, Perry
  • Not On Ballot as of Today: Santorum, Gingrich, Huntsmann
  • Delegates at Stake: 69

Illinois deadline is tomorrow so Santorum, Gingrich and Huntsmann all still have a little time.  But with all eyes on New Hampshire, will their campaigns be able to garner the 3000 signatures and submit them on time or will Romney, Paul and Perry be alone on the ballot?  With 69 delegates on the line, procrastination could be costly.

Vermont:

  • Requirement: 1,000 signatures + $2,000
  • Deadline: 1/9
  • On Ballot as of Today: Romney, Gingrich, Perry
  • Not On Ballot as of Today: Paul, Santorum, Huntsmann
  • Delegates at Stake: 17

Candidates still have a few days, but 1,000 signatures could be a challenge in short notice if the campaigns have not yet collected a majority of them.  This is the only ballot that Paul is at risk of not being included on.  Although the focus is on neighboring New Hampshire, the Paul, Santorum, and Huntsmann campaigns better get some boots across the boarder with a clip board and pen, STAT.

Arizona:

  • Requirement: Ask to be on ballot.
  • Deadline: 1/9
  • On Ballot as of Today: Romney, Paul, Perry, Santorum
  • Not On Ballot as of Today: Gingrich, Huntsmann
  • Delegates at Stake: 29

This is the one that is most difficult to justify.  The only requirement to be on the Arizona Primary ballot is filling out this form.  I almost did it myself just to prove how easy it is, but I am not yet 35 and therefor don’t meet the constitutional requirement to run for president.  Imagine, you could easily be on the Arizona ballot and yet Gingrich and Huntsmann have yet to take a simple step that make them eligible to compete for Arizona’s 29 delegates.  They have 4 days, better get it in the mail soon, can anyone lend them a stamp?

Rhode Island:

  • Requirement: 1,000 signatures between January 19 and February 2.
  • Deadline: 2/2
  • Delegates at Stake: 19

Rhode Island may prove to be a significant challenge for the candidates.  Each candidate must collect 1000 signatures in a two week span.  It comes out to about 75 signatures a day, which is very doable.  But several challenges remain including the Rhode Island winter, campaign teams that appear strained  based on previous ballot access issues and distractions including the South Carolina and Florida primaries that will occur during those 2 weeks.  There is also an issue of pre-existing campaign organization in Rhode Island, specifically the lack there of.  To date, none of the candidates have an organization set up in Rhode Island, according to Dave Talan, the secretary for the state GOP.  Talan went on to say, “We’re going to try to do it ourselves.”

Grading Candidate’s Ballot Access Efforts:

A+  Romney:  He is set to be on each ballot I examined.

A-   Paul: Paul has time but is not yet on the Vermont Ballot which has 19 delegates up for grabs.

C    Perry: Perry is already going to be left off the Virginia ballot with 49 delegates.  He appears to be in good position for the upcoming deadline states.

D    Santorum: Santorum is already going to be left off the Virginia and DC ballots totaling 68 delegates.  He is also at risk of being left off of the Illinois and Vermont ballots totaling 86 delegates.  All together Santorum may lose out on 154 potential delegates.

D-   Huntsman: Huntsmann is already going to be left off the Virginia ballot with 49 delegates.  He is also at risk of being left off of the Illinois, Vermont and Arizona ballots totaling 115 delegates.  All together Huntsmann may lose out on 164 potential delegates.

F    Gingrich: Gingrich is already going to be left off the Virginia and Missouri ballots totaling 101 delegates.  He is also at risk of being left off of the Illinois and Arizona ballots totaling 98 delegates.  All together Gingrich may lose out on 199 potential delegates.

UPDATE 1/6

Gingrich and Santorum fulfilled the requirements to be on the Illinois ballot today (the deadline).  Huntsman failed to file in time.

Keep updated with Caffeinated Thoughts!

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LB3LDHWZXK7GXIW6DYVOYSVPHE SJ

    Excellent analysis, but somehow I don’t think all this is going to be as problematic as it seems.  If Santorum pulls away after SC (or shortly thereafter), I suspect some rules will get bent to make room for the inevitable nominee.  I could be wrong, but things like this usually work themselves out.  

  • http://twitter.com/ShortyinCL Mike Shorten

    Dude,
    The Missouri ballot is irrelevant.  Missouri delegates are chosen at convention which has nothing to do with the popular election.

    Gingrich filed the necessary petitions today to get on the (irrelevant) ballot in Illinois for the popular vote, as well as a full slate of (relevant) delegates and alternative delegates petitions.

    Thought you might want to know…