The following letters were sent to Mark Shelden, the County Clerk in Champaign, Illinois, to protest the efforts of the state and local Democratic Party to exclude the Socialist Equality Party and its state legislative candidate, Thomas Mackaman, from the ballot in the November elections.
The effort to exclude the SEP from the ballot is part of a nationwide effort by the Democrats to stifle any campaign that opposes the bipartisan policies of militarism and the attack on the democratic rights and living standards of working people. We urge all those who oppose the war and who are angered by the pro-war politics and antidemocratic methods of Kerry and the Democrats to add their voices of protest against the attempt to exclude antiwar candidates from the November election. Send emails of protest to Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden’s office at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send copies to the World Socialist Web Siteat email@example.com.
I have followed the ordeal concerning Thomas Mackaman, SEP candidate for State Rep. Illinois. From the standpoint of an informed citizen, it is clear to me that precious resources have already been wasted in an unfair and undemocratic attempt to deny Mr. Mackaman an opportunity to be the voters’ choice as their public servant.
It is conduct exactly like this that is alienating members, past and present, of the Democratic Party, as well as the entire two-party system, en masse.
And so now, you have a choice to make. Muster the integrity and courage it takes to admit to the error and bad judgment you have made in challenging legitimate signatures of registered voters, or continue on with this underhanded and backwards attempt to thwart true democracy in the name of the Democratic Party.
Nelson W. Vollink
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
22 July 2004* * *
The challenge by the Democratic Party to Mr. Mackaman’s petition for ballot status is a baseless and shameful affront to the great tradition of democracy of your country.
I, and thousands of people around the world, hope you will treat it with the contempt it deserves and uphold that great tradition.
21 July 2004* * *
Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden,
I am writing to add my protest and disgust to what is happening in the 103rd District regarding the legal process of the Socialist Equality Party to place their candidate on the ballot for State Representative in the November election. I urge you to do what is legally, democratically, and morally correct by rejecting the obtuse, baseless objections of the Democrats to having Tom Mackaman’s name placed on the ballot. As a former Illinois resident now living in Indiana, I am disgusted at the games both the Democrats and Republicans play with the citizens’ right to vote for a candidate of their choice. Those candidates who go through all the legal hoops to get placed on the ballot should indeed be placed on the ballot.
New Carlisle, Indiana
21 July 2004* * *
Mark Shelden, County Clerk:
I am writing to you to register my protest and disgust at the treatment that has been meted out to the Socialist Equality Party candidate for the state legislature in the Illinois 103rd District, Tom Mackaman and his supporters, and call on you to put an end to this political thuggery and place the SEP candidate on the ballot.
Having read extensively on the stolen election by the Bush administration in 2000 and having followed the underhanded tactics being used by the Democrats to prevent not only the SEP but other third parties from gaining ballot status, one can only conclude that there is no line the Republican and Democratic parties will not cross to entrench the two-party system and ensure big business remains in control of US politics.
Is this the type of “democracy and freedom” that the “land of the free” exports or imposes in occupied countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan?
Discussion on crucial issues such as the war on Iraq, growing attacks on democratic rights and growing social inequality is in the interests of working people not only in the USA but internationally. This is what the SEP campaign is all about.
It is clear that the parties of big money—Democrats and Republicans—want to prevent this.
Socialist Equality Party
Perth, Western Australia
21 July 2004* * *
Dear Mr. Shelden,
There’s something terribly smelly going on in your jurisdiction.
Abraham Lincoln was a third-party candidate from the state of Illinois whom the people chose as their president. Today should be no different in allowing third-party candidates and their supporters to have a voice in this country.
Our American Revolution was a consequence of the tyranny of a king who undermined a fair and decent life for his people. The Democratic and Republican parties are currently committing the same error towards the working class citizens, not only in this country, but around the world (Iraq is an absolute travesty of justice).
Don’t forget that because this king had no concern for the voice of his subjects, a necessary (and unfortunately violent) war ensued. It would do well for the leaders and elitists of this country to remember that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it (in one way or another).
Allow SEP candidate Tom Mackaman his democratic right to be a voice for the good citizens in Illinois. Allow him the right to be on the ballot as a candidate for public office.
20 July 2004* * *
I have been horrified to read of the illegal activities occurring with regard to ballot access issues in Illinois! First I read that the Republican Party failed to make their filing deadline in Illinois, but the Democratic Party worked with them to change the deadline so the Republican Party would be on the state ballot—a deal involving forgiveness of a large amount of debt accrued through illegal election activities.
Then I read about efforts to remove a socialist candidate from the ballot, including challenging the signature of the candidate himself, and a clerk who was present and verified she had indeed signed the petition!
Then I read about similar tactics being used to invalidate legal and successful petition drives by the Green Party, the independent candidacy of Ralph Nader, all illegally paid for with taxpayer funds with workers on the clock!
Then I read this has been going on for years with similar techniques used against Libertarian candidates in the past.
It seems as if the illegal machinations of the Daley political machine are not a thing of the past.
I beg you to do all you can to end these meritless harassment challenges and let the voters decide who they would like to be their legal representative in the US government. It is your duty as a patriotic public servant to uphold not only the letter of election laws, but the spirit of election laws.
Please respond to me as soon as possible with your position on these issues.
20 July 2004