11 “Angry” Candidates
There are numerous comments out there that equate the large number of candidates running for city council with overall dissatisfaction with the city government and some council members.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason so many people are running for council is the barrier to entry is now much lower. Until this election it was quite onerous to get on the ballot. The candidate (and any friends the candidate could coerce) had to get the signatures of 5% of the registered voters on an official form. That comes to over 200 signatures. That is hard enough, but hang on, because you are still not done. You then must include each person’s voter registration number.
You could ask each signer to include their number, but no one knows theirs and if they have to go find their little green card, well, you will be at this task for over a month. The city has a master list so you can go down to city hall and look each one up, a task that will take hours.
Alternatively, you can purchase the IOP voter database from the SC Election Commission for something like $160. What is emailed to you is a CSV (comma separated variable) file, that looks just like what it is: a massive data dump. (But if you sift through it you can find out the ages of all your neighbors!)
The last election was uncontested. There were 4 candidates for 4 seats. Why? Yep, you guessed it, no one else wanted to go to all the trouble to get on the ballot. So council decided to drop the signature requirement and replace it with a fee of $100.
Speaking as one who has collected signatures in the past, I would rather pay $500 than have to go through that ordeal again.
So don’t believe all the hype out there that 11 people running are a sign the citizens of IOP are all pissed off. Look around. They aren’t. Methinks some people are using this argument to try to bolster their own campaigns.