The Socialist Equality Party calls on supporters to send letters to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) in protest against the anti-democratic efforts to prevent Jerry White and Phyllis Scherrer from appearing on the presidential ballot in November. We also make a special appeal for donations to aid in our legal campaign.
On August 7, representatives of the SEP were informed by David Buerger, the election specialist of the GAB, that he considered campaigners to have submitted zero valid signatures. Buerger told the SEP that as a result he would recommend that the GAB not place White and Scherrer’s name on the ballot when the board meets on August 28.
Buerger’s declaration came four days after SEP supporters submitted over 3,200 signatures of voters in Wisconsin, affirming their desire to be able to vote for a socialist alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. These signatures were gathered over the course of 8 days, demonstrating the widespread support for the SEP campaign.
Why were these signatures not valid, according to the GAB? Because two of ten presidential electors whose names are on all the petitions were listed in the wrong Congressional District. The state only recently carried out a redistricting that resulted in the discrepancies. One presidential elector voted in elections a few months ago, only to discover now that she is actually in a different district.
The process of obtaining electors is itself an archaic and anti-democratic procedure, bound up with the fact that the people of the United States do not vote directly for the president, but rather for representatives to the Electoral College. Many states do not require that electors be selected before independent candidates can appear on the ballot, and most others do not have residency requirements.
Buerger’s attempt to prevent White and Scherrer from appearing on the ballot is not only a flagrant violation of the democratic rights of the people of Wisconsin, it also directly contravenes previous Wisconsin Supreme Court case law. In the 2004 case Nader v. Dane County, the Supreme Court ruled that the residency requirement for electors is not mandatory and placed the independent candidate on the ballot.
In addition to the SEP, the elections specialist for the GAB has also announced that he will recommend that the Green Party’s candidates for president and vice president be kept off the ballot for the exact same reason.
These moves are one more example of the immense barriers that are placed in the way of any attempt to break the political stranglehold of the Democrats and Republicans. Even to get on the ballot, some states require tens or even hundreds of thousands of signatures—impossible to achieve without huge financial resources. The Democrats and Republicans, of course, are placed on the ballot automatically. The mass media meanwhile serve to black out any discussion of a political alternative.
Wisconsin requires fewer signatures than many states—“only” 2,000. Yet it is also expected to be a battleground state this November. Therefore, the Democratic Party in particular is determined to exclude candidates that will expose its complicity in the attack on the working class—in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.
The mass working class protests in Wisconsin last year against the budget cuts of Republican Governor Scott Walker were a demonstration of the immense social anger building up in the state and across the US. The Democrats and their allies in the trade unions and middle class pseudo-left organizations mobilized to channel these protests behind a recall campaign aimed at electing a Democratic Party governor.
The Democrats succeeded in demobilizing the protests, but this did not put an end to the deep class tensions that produced them. As demonstrated by the support for the SEP campaign, there is a hunger for an alternative.
The growth of social inequality has been accompanied by the deep erosion of democratic rights in the United States. Particularly since the theft of the 2000 elections, even the right to vote, the most basic democratic right, is under attack. The elections are little more than a carefully regulated contest between two representatives of the corporate and financial aristocracy.
The SEP is planning an aggressive response to the attempt to bar its candidates from the Wisconsin ballot. This will include a legal battle that will require significant financial resources. We cannot carry out this struggle without the assistance of our supporters. Please donate generously to the election campaign fund today.
We urge supporters of the campaign in the US and internationally to flood the Government Accountability Board with messages of protest demanding that it abide by the will of the petition-signers and place White and Scherrer on the ballot.
Send all e-mails to:
Government Accountability Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Buerger: email@example.com
Please send copies to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters can be mailed to:
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
P.O. Box 7984
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7984