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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Vote For [Insert Name Here]

We are back to New Jersey, and the passing of the Torch. Yesterday I suggested that principled Democrats should get behind an organized write-in campaign, such as was recently perpetrated, pardon me, executed, in Washington, DC. This would show respect for the law and offer voters a choice. Just to show that, if you read enough news, you will find something you like, I offer these bits from the Times:

"First of all, it's simply not legal for them to try to put someone on the ballot in less than 51 days," said Ginny Wolfe, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "That's simply the law, and I suspect that the people in New Jersey are simply tired of laws being ignored."

That's what I'm saying! Laws are made merely to frustrate well-intentioned Democrats.

"The laws of the State of New Jersey do not contain a `We-think-we're-going-to-lose-so-we-get-to-pick-someone-new' clause," Mr. Forrester said at a news conference after Mr. Torricelli announced his withdrawal.

Yeah, yeah, more legalistic Republican whining. They would have exactly that clause if anyone had thought of it, so why not put one in there now? Where's the good stuff?

"...law professors at Rutgers University differed on the legality of a party changing candidates so close to Election Day.

"I'm inclined to think that the Republicans are right; I don't think they can replace him at this point," said Frank Askin, who runs the Rutgers Law School's Constitutional Law clinic in Newark. "I think the Democratic option is to take a page from the mayor of the District of Columbia's playbook and run a big write-in campaign, get behind another candidate and print two million stickers with his name on it."

Exactly. But wait...

"...Richard J. Perr, who teaches courses on election and political campaign law at the Rutgers Law School in Camden, said that a trend in court rulings favoring expanding voter choice at election time would probably allow Democrats to prevail.

"The state statute says you can substitute a name on the ballot within 51 days of the election," Mr. Perr said. "However the statute then stops, and doesn't say what happens if you are closer than 51 days. So what it will come down to is a battle over the common law and practices of the state."

Which is to say, don't bore me with your common sense or "intent of the legislature" nonsense. We want to change candidates, and we will, and these laws are just a bunch of confusing obstacles desgned to frustrate the will of the voters. And anyway, did you ever see Michael Jordan whistled for travelling? Exactly.

So away we go. Another thoughtful debate on "will of the people" versus "rule of law".

UPDATE: The Man, the Torch, the Tribute. Employees must wash hands afterwards.

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