BY JEFF OLSON AND MELANIE BUCK –
Eight candidates for President of the United States appear on the Arkansas November 2016 General Election ballot. Did you know not all states have the same number of candidates on their ballots?
Each U.S. State has its own ballot access laws to determine who may appear on ballots. According to the Elections Clause in Article I, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, the authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of federal elections is up to each State, unless Congress legislates otherwise. State lawmakers have developed presidential ballot access procedures in an effort to prevent non-serious candidates from appearing on the ballot.
Ballotpedia.com explains what it takes for a candidate for president of the United States to be placed on the ballot. Each candidate “must meet a variety of complex, state-specific filing requirements and deadlines. These regulations, known as ballot access laws, which are set at the state level, determine whether a candidate or party will appear on an election ballot. A presidential candidate must prepare to meet ballot access requirements well in advance of primaries, caucuses, and the general election.
There are three basic methods by which an individual may become a candidate for president of the United States.
- An individual can seek the nomination of a political party. Presidential nominees are selected by delegates at national nominating conventions. Individual states conduct caucuses or primary elections to determine which delegates will be sent to the national convention.
- An individual can run as an independent. Independent presidential candidates typically must petition each state to have their names printed on the general election ballot. For the 2016 presidential contest, it was estimated that an independent candidate would need to collect in excess of 880,000 signatures in order to appear on the general election ballot in every state.
- An individual can run as a write-in candidate. In 34 states, a write-in candidate must file some paperwork in advance of the election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. The remaining states do not require write-in candidates to file paperwork in advance of the election.”
In total, 1,910 candidates have completed filing requirements in at least one state and will appear on those ballots. The eight candidates that completed the filing requirements in Arkansas and will appear on the ballot are: Gary Johnson, Libertarian (Bill Weld, VP); Jill Stein, Green Party (Ajamu Baraka, VP); Jim Hedges, Independent (Bill Bayes, VP); Darrell L. Castle, Constitution Party (Scott N. Bradley, VP); Donald J. Trump, Republican (Michael R. Pence, VP); Evan McMullin, Better for America (Nathan Johnson, VP); Lynn S. Kahn, Independent (Kathleen Monahan, VP); Hillary Clinton, Democratic (Tim Kaine, VP).
A candidate must win at least 270 electoral college votes to win the election. Arkansas has six electoral college votes to cast that are determined by votes cast by Arkansas citizens. Arkansas voters have chosen the republican presidential candidate in the last four elections. According to several polls taken in the state, as of this week, the republican candidate, Donald Trump, has a strong lead with the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in second, followed by Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein.