Politics 2012: Of ballots, texting, TV and polling

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International  |  June 17, 2012 at 5:01 AM
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Candidates getting the ballot boot … Texting for dollars … Candidate seeks channel to get message out … Clinton's acumen on economy

That's a lot of white-out …

Two decisions by the South Carolina Supreme Court removed more than 200 candidates for state and local offices in the state's recent primaries. Incumbent office-holders weren't affected by the ruling.

The court decisions were based on a technicality. Challengers in the Palmetto state must file financial disclosure forms at the same time they file their candidacy declaration forms with political party officials, Stateline.org reported.

However, many challengers said they thought the law meant they should file financial disclosure forms online with the State Ethics Commission, instead of with the political parties, The (Columbia) State reported.

While acknowledging its decision has huge consequences, the court said the law was clear and removed candidates that didn't file the forms simultaneously.

Appeals to the Legislature and the courts weren't successful. Lawmakers debated an emergency law to offer candidates ballot access, but didn't act on it.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., blasted the decision in a letter, The State reported.

"Through a technicality, the court has denied hundreds of people the right to run for office, and has essentially denied hundreds of thousands the right to participate in a free and fair election," Duncan wrote.

Technology and the art of campaign donations …

People wanting to contribute to the campaigns of President Obama, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other federal candidates have a new venue -- texting.

A unanimous Federal Election Commission recently decided to allow the new source for the revenue stream to candidates, The Washington Post reported.

Text-messaging contributions, however, can take 60 days to come through as part of monthly cellular telephone plans, which squelched previous efforts to win the election watchdog's approval of text donations. Consulting firms ArmourMedia and Red Blue T devised a solution that treats a text contribution like a pledge, which then is purchased by a third-party aggregator from the campaigns, the Post said.

The Obama and Romney campaigns both back the text contributions -- a rare show of agreement.

ArmourMedia President Mark Armour, a press secretary to former Vice President Al Gore, called text contributions an "antidote to the super PACs."

"Just when corporate billionaires were about to hijack the 2012 elections, the FEC gave millions of Americans the power to match them through small donations on their cellphones," Armour said.

A dedicated channel for political junkies

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle launched her own cable television channel dedicated solely to providing information about her Senate campaign and the issues facing Hawaii, Roll Call reported.

Interested Oceanic Time Warner cable subscribers can find LL2012 on digital channel 110. The cable provider said it was the first time a U.S. political candidate has used a dedicated cable channel, the campaign said.

Lingle is running for the state's Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat. She will face the winner of the Aug. 11 Democratic primary, either Rep. Mazie Hirono or former Rep. Ed Case.

"Because I care deeply about all the people of Hawaii and am running for the U.S. Senate to make life better for the people of our state, my campaign is committed to finding new ways to keep people connected," Lingle, a Republican, said in a statement. "By employing all accessible media platforms, we are putting 'people first' by meeting voters where they are."

Poll: Voters prefer Clinton's economic chops

Most U.S. voters expressed more confidence in former President Bill Clinton's judgment concerning the economy than that of President Obama or presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a Rasmussen Reports survey last week indicated.

Clinton found himself in hot water within the Democrat Party when he disagreed with Obama and called for an extension of tax cuts enacted while George W. Bush occupied the White House.

Most voters support extending those tax cuts, Rasmussen Reports said.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted June 7-8. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.

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