In recent articles, I have made several suggestions that could help disabled candidates get on the ballot. I think these efforts are important not just for people with disabilities, but for every candidate.
If a state wishes to impose massive signature-gathering requirements, the state needs to step up and provide an easy means for any candidate to get those signatures. The means I propose is for the state to send out an official postcard that asks each voter if they want to support a certain candidate being on the ballot.
There needs to be a very simple webpage with a list of all candidates who registered to be part of this signature-gathering process. Many states already allow voters to register to vote online and modify their registrations such as by changing the address online.
If voters can already register to vote online, registered voters should be encouraged to support candidates by electronically selecting candidates with a YES/NO function on the voter registration website. Every single signature done this way would be done by an actual registered voter who is in the right district such that no questions exist about who signed and whether they were eligible to sign.
Right now, there is a voter signing period for ballot access petitions and the system that I propose would have the same signing period. All the state would have to do is send a small postcard with the URL of the voter registration system webpage that allows voters to easily e-sign for potential candidates.
This e-signing system should show the list of pre-registered candidates for which that voter is eligible to e-sign and the number of e-signatures at any point that candidate has received so far.
I think it is only fair that the state pay for this when the state is imposing the requirement of signatures. There is not a single provision of any state or federal constitution that requires a state to force candidates to gather signatures to get on the ballot. This is a discretionary barrier that could be completely removed without offending any constitution or violating anyone’s rights. Given this, states must be required to provide a modern system for completing this task.
I think that the U.S. Postal Service should allow such small postcards to voters to be sent for free because it is a fundamental part of the ballot access system and if the states are going to require signatures, the U.S. government needs to be assisting the candidates with protecting their own right to be on the ballot without undue burdens. Some election materials can already be mailed for free. 39 U.S.C. § 3406
It is already free to mail voters who are blind and this should be done. But one cannot know who all the blind voters are, so one should be able to send materials to all voters in Braille format. Obviously, if there is a website so voters can support candidates by e-signing, that system needs to be fully accessible to anyone who wishes to participate, including blind voters. Under UOCAVA, it may even be possible to send every voter an accessible notice for free both in text and Braille to make sure everyone has the chance to participate.
The States need merely take the small and inexpensive step of creating an e-signing page that only registered voters can use, with a dashboard visible to the public showing how many signatures each candidate has at any given time.