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There are likely registered Democrats who believe there is no point in voting in the primary election this year (many may have already missed their chance regardless). Although at least two individuals - Darcy Richardson and Aldous C. Tyler had declared their intention to run against Barack Obama as the Democrat on the Presidential ticket in November, neither individual has made much headway getting their names on the ballot (Tyler has also suspended his campaign and endorsed Richardson).

Given that it is seemingly a foregone conclusion that Obama will be the nominee for the general election, why should any registered Democrat show up to vote on primary day? Simple: there is always more going on at the polls than the Presidential election. Head on over to and enter your address and zip code into the "Find Your Own Election" section on the main page. If your primary hasn't already occurred, you may find yourself surprised by how much there is to vote on that doesn't concern the Presidential election. For one, there may be contested primaries for local and state races. Are there any ballot initiatives to vote on? If you don't say yay or nay at your polling place, you may not get to grumble that your borough increased the millage rate on your property taxes to fund a new water treatment plant without asking you first - maybe they did and your "kept your mouth shut," so to speak.

Obviously, I can't speak for every town in the nation, but I can make some remarks about what I see on Pennsylvania's Democratic ballot for the state's primary on April 24th. The presidential slot is unsurprising: Barack Obama is the only individual in that slot. However, for Democrats who wish to vote against Obama, all is not lost. Pennsylvania allow write ins; as such, if you want to write in Darcy Richardson or even "none of the above" you are well within your rights to do so. Furthermore, the presidential primary is a "beauty contest" in Pennsylvania. It is not the vote for president that matters in the primary, but the vote for pledged delegates headed to the Democratic Convention. In 2008, I voted for pledged delegates assigned to Hillary Clinton, leaving the remaining spaces blank rather than filling any of them with delegates pledged to Barack Obama. In 2012, one is allowed to do something similar if one wishes to vote against the incumbent; while there likely won't be any pledged delegates for anyone other than Obama, there may be uncommitted delegates who are not assigned to a particular candidate. You can vote for these uncommitted delegates or simply write in "none of the above" again.

Meanwhile, I've found some other interesting things on my sample ballot. Statewide, Joseph John Vodvarka, who attempted to run against Joe Sestak in 2010 but failed to gather enough signatures in his petition to get on the ballot, is running again to be the Democratic senator representing Pennsylvania. This time he has managed to get on the ballot and he is facing incumbent Bob Casey Jr., who defeated Rick Santorum in 2006 by a landslide. My prediction is that Vodvarka will be easily crushed by Casey in the primary, despite many liberals (myself included) wanting to see someone better than Casey in that seat. However, it is quite damning to someone's campaign when their website won't load - at least it wouldn't when I attempted to visit it - your mileage may vary.

Speaking of the failures of websites run by campaign underdogs, Janis C. Brooks' website is hosted by GoDaddy. Brooks is running against incumbent Mike Doyle for Pennsylvania's 14th Congressional District. Based on what is written on the website, she is positioning herself to the left of Doyle, who himself is considered pretty far to the left. However, what is written is wanting in regards to the meat of policy and I feel it shows a lack of political awareness to try and mount a campaign as a liberal Democrat on a website which is hosted by GoDaddy.

Dissatisfied? Write in "none of the above" - it may not flush the candidates from the polls and force new ones to run, but it does have to be tallied by the board of elections. In the words of [ profile] mokie: "The point is the right to make your voice heard, not to be herded." To me that means not missing any election and not letting anyone bully you into voting because of some assumption of "inevitability."

illusionofjoy: (Default)

One of the Google Alerts I have set up is for the term "state primary elections." At regular intervals, Google sends me a set of links - usually to news items - relating to my chosen query. To be expected, as of late this has led to a bunch of useless muck regarding the circus known as the Republican primary. However, digging through enough dirt occasionally yields an interesting nugget.

Corrente readers are already aware that Aldous C. Tyler is mounting a Democratic primary challenge against Barack Obama. It would seem that he is not the only one. Deposited in my email in-box this evening was an article published in the Oklahoman stating that five Democrats will be on the Oklahoma Presidential primary ballot. Unfortunately, the article only mentions the name of the fifth individual:

A Florida Democrat will be on Oklahoma's presidential primary ballot next year after it was discovered his filing information and check had been sent to the wrong location.

Darcy Richardson called state Election Board officials Thursday asking why he was not listed as being on the Democratic Party presidential primary ballot March 6, state Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

Since we can safely assume that Barack Obama is one of the remaining four candidates, that leaves us with two out of five total in Oklahoma (as it is unknown whether or not Tyler has successfully filed to be on the ballot in Oklahoma or any other state). So, here are the individuals whom I can confirm are running against Obama to be the Democratic nominee:

If anyone has any information about other candidates vying for the position, by all means feel free to expand this list. I don't particularly want to debate viability, but I would like to satiate my curiosity.


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Seth Warren

May 2017

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