Make it simple

Published 11:15 am Thursday, December 29, 2011

The following rules are fairly simple when an American citizen decides the seek the highest elected office in the free world:

Only native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who were both citizens of the U.S.) may be president of the United States;

One must also be at least 35 years of age to be president; and

In addition to being a natural-born citizen, one must live in the United States for at least 14 years to be president.

So, why is it so tough for two Republican candidates – namely Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, both who meet the aforementioned criteria and both of whom have publically declared they are seeking the office of president – to have their names listed on the primary ballot in neighboring Virginia?

The powers that be north of our border must think very highly of themselves. They require any candidate seeking the office of president to have the signatures of 10,000 registered voters, to include 400 from each of the state’s congressional districts, in order to have their names on the primary ballot. Apparently, neither Gingrich nor Perry were able to muster that amount of signatures or were unaware of Virginia’s ultra restrictive requirements.

And to pour salt in Newt’s wound, he’s a resident and registered voter in Virginia. Thusly, he is not able to cast a ballot for himself.

Thankfully, North Carolina’s laws for seeking the office of president are a bit more relaxed. According to state statutes, by the first Tuesday in February of the year preceding the North Carolina presidential preference primary, the chair of each political party shall submit to the State Board of Elections a list of its presidential candidates to be placed on the presidential preference primary ballot. The list must be comprised of candidates whose candidacy is generally advocated and recognized in the news media throughout the United States or in North Carolina.

And that’s the way it should be in each and every state comprising the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we, as a nation, only mandate three simple requirements for a person to file for president, each of our 50 states should follow suit and afford their citizens the opportunity to vote for the person of their choice.

In other words, Virginia doesn’t need a popularity contest prior to a popularity contest.

–      The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald