Candidates should be treated equally

Published 6:32 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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To the editor:

As a lifelong Virginian voter, I am seeing a shift in who is being allowed on the ballot as well as who is allowed a public voice should they make it onto the ballot. This year, the Board of Elections used its authority to keep many independent candidates off of the ballot. Some of these candidates were kept off of ballots even though their disqualification was due to being given incorrect instructions by election officials.

Now we know that Terry McAuliffe did not sign his Declaration of Candidacy form. Even worse, two people signed that form saying that they had witnessed the former governor’s signature. It is being widely dismissed by many involved in Virginia elections as a simple “clerical error” that is of no real consequence. Not true — two people lied on that form by giving their signatures and the candidate and their staff made what would have been a campaign ending decision by the Board of Elections for almost anyone else.

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While I do not support the disenfranchisement of McAuliffe’s supporters, I do hope that all candidates will, in the future, be treated equally.. This unfair standard of treatment also extends to those who do make it on the ballot. On Sept. 28, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce conducted a debate between the two top party candidates for governor. They refused to let a third party candidate, Princess Blanding, participate. Another bad choice for the practice of democracy in Virginia.

Jeff Staples