Incumbents Have the Game Rigged
Try running for office!
Contact: Brian Kelly for US Congress
Date: April 13, 2016 / December 3, 2021
****** PRESS RELEASE ******
Like you, Congressional Candidate Brian Kelly is disgusted with the current leaders in our government. He is asking for voters to forget about what big government can do for them. The results are in and the verdict is "0." Kelly had once asked voters to write him BRIAN KELLY for the House of Representatives, PA District 8, and once in 2018 for the US Senate. Kelly did not win those elections but he is ready to represent Northeastern Pennsylvania right now in its greatest hour of need. Matt Cartwright has outlived his usefulness representing Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco District.
Brian hopes to help release our wonderful country from the grips of the socialists and communists.
In this essay, Brian Kelly demonstrates the difficulty for non-politicians (regular Joe's), such as him, to gain ballot access in a system designed of, for, and by corrupt incumbent politicians.
His essay title is:
BALLOT ACCESS: THE GAME IS RIGGED!
Please enjoy this essay by Mr. Brian Kelly.
Try running for Office in a state such as Pennsylvania, in which the political Incumbents and the establishment have the game rigged. Pennsylvania's corrupt state politicians have slanted the ballot-access table in favor of incumbents and against non-political regular citizens of the Commonwealth.
There are major trials and tribulations facing regular people who attempt to present themselves as candidates on any ballot for any office in the United States of America. The ballot access issue in Pennsylvania is one of the worst in the nation. It should not surprise anybody that the incumbent politicians make the laws that make it difficult for anybody to unseat them. There are many surprisingly restrictive ballot access laws in this country. The average citizen voter has no knowledge or concept of the extent of the problem until one day, he or she decides to put their hat in the ring and they run for office, hoping to give something back.
If you are so inclined, do you feel that you might actually be able to run unimpeded for an important office in Pennsylvania? Would you just go ahead and do it or would you be concerned that the weight of the political machine might be too heavily focused against your candidacy? If you gave it a shot, do you think you would be permitted to run unfettered against a well-established political class whose livelihood and whose continued excessive wealth depends on being elected continually until they die?
I thought I would run for office simply because I am an American and this is America. I have done so but let me tell you the road is unpaved. I ran for Congress and for Mayor. I was on the ballot for Congress in 2010 and on the ballot for Mayor of Wilkes-Barre in 2015. There is a lot of work in running for office and unless you become a politician or the people stop bootlicking politicians by voting for them, a new candidate can expect nothing but misery and failure. But, there is hope if you stick with it.
Do you wonder why so few people run for office? Surely you have neighbors who you think would be much better at leading our country, state, county, or city than the same old crew whose names make the ballot every election. I know first-hand why more good people choose to stay away from becoming elected officials. It is because the politicians control the playing field. If you think the game is rigged, you are right! The game is rigged.
There is a big reason why potential candidates for office do not simply emerge into the sunlight when they are so inclined to be the next Mayor, Governor, Senator, or Representative. It is the same reason that even Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have learned in trying to become president. The game is rigged, at all levels.
The reason is that there are lots of impediments and major roadblocks that need to be carefully navigated. Those currently holding offices of and for the people, think they own the people. Consider that there are no documented cases of an elected official, who in their first term or any term ever calls all citizens of the community together for a meeting to find some other good candidates to run.
It seems logical that we all would have been invited at some time to say, a church hall, so that a great leader could describe to us the process of becoming the next such and such from so and so. If we all wanted the best people to serve, would we not be encouraging our neighbors to come out and be welcomed to consider putting his or her hat in the ring to serve the people?
Why are we deprived of having regular, ordinary citizens such as you and I, rather than machine groomed politicians be the candidates for the offices available in almost all elections? The answer is that over time, the political class through gerrymandering and restrictive ballot access laws, and special rules known only unto them, have made it difficult for anybody other than a crooked politician to get elected.
Politicians play the game and they eventually become experts. It is not by accident that the winners are almost always endorsed by the big Party machines, and let me tell you all, the machines are really big and are really powerful and tough to overcome. Regular Joe's and Josephine's are excluded in the process intentionally but the methods are not entirely obvious. The fact that it costs a lot of money to compete is just one of the first obstacles.
For the money and the major effort, a newcomer has less than a slim chance to gain the nomination or win a general election. Once you put your hat in the ring, there is a lot of unexpected and unnecessary work and expense. It is not an accident that any candidate running for the first time feels that all of the politicians and the minions in government have their hands locked into his or her wallet.
It was not always that way and the founders did not intend it to be that way. Unfortunately, elected politicians have always had the power to make things easy for their next election regardless of its impact on democracy, the will of the people, and the good of the people. The founding fathers expected that the people would throw the bums out but the bums have made it very difficult,
Their path to a reelection and a slot at the establishment perks table is much easier than your path to be newly elected. They use something that I would call a special "incumbent grease." The incumbent grease makes them quite slippery and it helps them to be impervious to the rot they create, through which those not as well connected must traverse.
It was not until the 1880's for example that paper ballots began to be printed by the government. Before then it was private entities who produced the ballots and even before then voice votes were used. In the 1880's official secret ballots came into being by government decree and that is when the ballot access issues for John Q Public began. It is funny how the government broke a system that had worked well for 100 years at that time. Government breaks a lot more than it fixes.
The elitists believed that only elitists should be able to run for public office and they set out to make sure that it was a task that most ordinary citizens would choose not to take up. Today as we see in Congress and the Senate, and even the Presidency, the sense of entitlement to the office held is so strong that the "elite" politicians believe that they know more than the people they serve.
They also know that it is so difficult for a newcomer to replace them that they no longer believe they have a requirement to do the people's will to be re-elected. Of course, that was before the recent populist movement that has Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, ostensibly outsiders to the presidential process, doing so well in the elections of today. Trump a big outsider was our president for four of the past five years and other than annoying some people with his rhetoric, he did a great job with with great policies, great courage, and a penchant to get things done to make America Great Again! To not be an incumbent in 2022 should now a major advantage for the people. But, will the establishment still have the power and the gall to direct the results? We'll see!
The TEA Party movement of 2009 from its first brew was unfairly defamed by the corrupt progressive media. Yet, it is the TEA Party, a term not mentioned much today that built the foundation for today's populist movement. This movement has brought us candidates who do not owe their allegiance to big donors or the Party machines.
Wikipedia, which sometimes, but infrequently, gets it wrong, got this fact 100% right. It cites that historian Peter Argersinger pointed out that the 1880's reform "that conferred power on officials to regulate who may be on the ballot carried with it the danger that this power would be abused by officialdom and that legislatures controlled by the established political parties (specifically, the Republican and Democratic Parties), would enact restrictive ballot access laws to influence election outcomes, for partisan purposes, in order to ensure re-election of their own party's candidates." Peter Argersinger was 100% correct and my own story as a candidate confirms that.
As a candidate several times who paid a big price to be on the ballot, I can assure all Americans that the ballot access system provided by the states is not designed to let the most competent person through the maze. Thus, the people most often send the same scoundrels back to office rather than helping new blood present its case. First of all, there are no ready forums to present one's a case.
One would presume with no knowledge that the United States would have the most fair ballot access rules in the world of countries that practice a form of democracy. But, this is not true. The United States has been criticized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for its harsh ballot access laws in the past. From my own experience, the US has not really lightened up on the rules that prevent ordinary citizens to get on the ballot. The corrupt press never reports on it as it is part of the problem, not the solution.
This is one place in which it appears the Brits have us beat. In their political science model of a healthy two-party system, every candidate for Parliament faces the same ballot-access hurdle-- a simple filing fee. Not only is it free but candidates from all parties are granted two free mailings to all the voters. That's not the end of the fairness. Every candidate also gets some free TV and radio time. It's almost as if the Brits want real people not just politicians to be able to achieve an office in Parliament. We have the same access here if you have the big bucks and lots of spare time. In Britain, they have legal equality between all the parties and it seems to work. Our system seems to be corrupt. As Donald Trump says quite well and quite often: "The system is rigged." Trump is right!
You saw what happened in Colorado, Trump said. Its a fix. We thought we were having an election and a number of months ago, they decide to do it by you know what, right? They said well do it by delegate. Aw, isnt that nice? And the delegates were all there waiting. And, one of them tweeted out today and said today, by mistake, and then they withdrew it, something to the effect of See, never Trump.
Mr. Trump spoke at a rally with over 30,000 supporters who packed the Times Union Center, a sports and concert venue in downtown Albany: I'm hundreds of delegates ahead but the system, folks, is rigged. Its a rigged, disgusting, dirty system.
As a person who has run twice in this dirty system, I more than agree. It is rigged to benefit long term dirty corrupt politicians who in this election, are known simply as "The Establishment."
Even at the local level, when I ran for Mayor six years ago and was on the ballot, I requested in early 2015 that Mayor Leighton open City Hall for a meet the candidates night twice a month for the few months of the election season. Each mayoral candidate would speak for an hour and each Council candidate would also get time to speak.
The Mayor said the City could not sponsor such events as it was against the law. I have two sons who are lawyers and this simply is not true. Regardless, the Mayor acted like he owned City Hall, not like he was merely renting it with the people's permission until the end of his term. I beg to differ that a Mayor or public official cannot choose to help the electoral process.
But, we all know it is very difficult fighting City Hall. The newspapers are AWOL. Radio stations permit call-ins for brief periods but the local TV stations including Public TV offer nothing for aspiring candidates. The message is to get your wallet out and pay to permit the people to learn to know you. The Fourth estate is dead in Wilkes-Barre PA and for the most part across the country.
In 2010, when I ran for Congress, the incumbent, who seemingly was responsible for funding allocations for Public TV, decided that there would be no public forum or debates on Public TV for the Congressional House Race! Is it not convenient to be the well-known incumbent and have the power to limit your opponent's opportunities to take your job.
The noted scholar John Henry Wigmore, professor of law at Northwestern Univ. from 1901 to 1929, who ultimately was dean of the law faculty had some big-time opinions on fair elections. In his earlier life (1880s) Wigmore had been a leader for election law reform, especially the secret voting method and ballot access laws. His suggestion in my opinion makes sense. He recommended that as few as ten signatures would be an appropriate requirement for nomination to gain access to the official ballot for a legislative office. I agree.
For Congress in PA, a candidate needs 1000 signatures plus 1000 more signatures to cover signature challenges. For Mayor, one needs 100 signatures plus 100 more to cover challenges. I dare you to try to get a signature from anybody for anything. See how easy it is. Candidates get three weeks to get all signatures while still going to work every day. Each signature petition sheet of 50 maximum and 1 minimum must be notarized. That is another $5.00 to $10.00 per signature.
So, does that make Pennsylvania law 100 times better than the suggestion of this sage legal scholar who thinks ten signatures are sufficient? Let me repeat myself on the requirement. As noted, in PA, one hoping to become a candidate on the ballot for Congress on the Republican or Democrat side must attain 1000 signatures plus 1000 more for challenges in less than three weeks. I submit that this is regardless of how many snow storms there may have been. All of this hard work, 100 times more than Wigmore's suggestion is necessary to be a candidate for US Representative for either party. Incumbents illegally use their staff to get the signatures or the Party pas as much as $5.00 to $10.00 per signature to have professionals canvas for them. Regular citizens have no such staffs.
At about six to ten signatures per hour, one certainly cannot expect to hold a job and live a normal life if trying to get the signatures by oneself. The clear objective of such as system is to limit the access to the ballot so that normal people say "no way," and politician after politician has his or her way with the people's treasury.
When the signatures are submitted, it is also clear that the objective is to eliminate signatures, not to verify the real citizens who signed the petitions. They may be valid citizens, thereby making their attestation valid but if they make a mistake in their own name or the city or the date or their apartment #, their attestation of a candidate is thrown in the garbage. In a recent US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, Joseph Vodvarka's signatures were challenged by the opportunistic Joe Sestak.
When I first wrote this essay, Mr. Sestak hoped to deny Pennsylvanians a candidate who is of the people and not of the political class. He hoped to chop hundreds of signatures from Vodvarka's submitted petitons. He wanted them marked invalid so that Mr. Vodvarka would lose his right to be on the ballot. That's how bad it is. Since then, I learned that on April 1, the Courts favored Sestak. What a sham. The system is rigged.
Sestak almost immediately took Vodvarka to court so it will cost Vodvarka money to defend his petitions with over 2000 signatures. Sestak, a well-tuned in politician says more than 60 percent of the Vodvarka voter signatures is not known for being a handwriting expert. Yet, he claimed the signatures were flawed and should not be counted. I say if they can find ten good signatures, Vodvarka should be in! Try getting 4000 signatures in three weeks.
Most courts are smarter than the politics often employed by jurists in making decisions. The PA Court ruled against Vodvarka.
U.S. Senate candidates have a tougher time to get signatures than House candidates. Instead of 1000, they need to collect 2,000 signatures to qualify to be on the ballot. Those petition signers must be registered to vote in the county where they reside and be of the same political party as the candidate. Joe Vodvarka had submitted 2,744 signatures, which ought to be enough, except in a rigged system, to have him on the ballot.
Prior to the Commonwealth Court hearing argument on Sestak's challenge, attorneys for Vodvarka and Sestak reached an agreement and stipulated to the court that 558 signatures on Vodvarka's petitions were invalid. As long as he was on the ballot, why would Vodvarka care that he only had 200 or so to spare. That left Vodvarka with 2,186 signatures. But the Commonwealth Court chopped off another 400 signatures so Vodvarka could not run on the ballot with 1800 signatures. What kind of guy does that make Sestak? What kind of lousy system would authorize such a perpetration of justice?
Political pundits have often said that the poll tax is the worst tax possible as it denies people the right to vote. It is my humble opinion that the method of using exorbitant numbers of signatures and arbitrary signature cancellations is worse than a poll tax as it denies the citizens the very candidates that would make an election with just politicians running, into a real election. A politician's objective, such as Joe Sestak, is to eliminate candidates not to verify that they are capable of serving.
Speaking of taxes, to help get 1000 signatures, one can ask for the county database or state database. I called the state and was routed back and forth and then each time, the phone was conveniently disconnected. For my part, I got the pleasure of dialing again but since time is important, I chose not to work with the state. The state database cost $20.00 or so I had been told.
District 11 [Before the recent changes to District 17 and now District 8] in Pennsylvania consisted of all or part of five different counties -- Carbon, Columbia, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Luzerne. To get the databases for these counties, they must be obtained from the counties one by one, for a sum of $50.00 per CD or $250.00. To capture one signature on a petition in each of the five counties--a total of just 5 signatures--would cost approximately $10,00 in Notary Public fees per sheet or $50.00 to have all five signatures notarized.
Why is this a requirement when the State does not accept the notarized affidavit---the word of the Notary, anyway? Vodvarka's were all notarized but the court did not accept the Notary's attestations. The answer is because it is effective harassment for anybody who dares challenge the powers that be. But, you already know that.
Of course each House petition holds 50 signatures so it would take 20 perfect petitions to reach 1000 signatures at a cost of $200.00. Since, at least 1500 signatures is recommended as many will be eliminated rather than verified, this cost is at best $300.00. With signature circulators working on behalf of every candidate, many of the sheets have no more than ten signatures. Of all had just ten signatures, this would be 100 sheets and the cost would be $1000.00 for the notarization of the signatures.
What purpose does this serve?
Additionally, there is a filing fee of $150.00 to be able to submit the petitions and be duly registered as a candidate to be placed on the ballot. They don't take Visa or Master Card. They do not take personal checks. So, I had to go to the bank to get a $150.00 cashier's check made out perfectly to the State of PA or they would not accept it. More harassment. Then, though there were five Voters services offices in District 11, ostensibly because this is a National election, the full petition, a notarized affidavit (another $10.00) and the cashier's check had to be taken to Harrisburg (two hours each way plus mileage cost -- say another $50.00) to a specific room to be processed.
In the directions from Harrisburg, to add insult to injury, I found it comforting that there was a caution after noting that the signature period was from February 16 to March 9. The caution said, "Do not wait until the last minute." In other words, the office is closing at 5:00 P.M. on March 9 so you better be in, processed, and out by 5:00 P.M. When I arrived on a Tuesday, I thought I was OK. Only about forty signatures were discounted. Despite all the obstacles I made it onto the ballot. .
Many citizens do not know how difficult it is for a non-politico to run for any office in Pennsylvania or they would insist that the rules be more reasonable. We have our corrupt state lawmakers to blame for that and they must fix this even before, in our contempt for them, we replace them all. I will do my best, I can assure you to enable ballot access for all so that we the people are not cursed to have only politicians to choose from in our elections.
Speaking of citizens and the requirement for 1000 signatures. It is my understanding that the incumbent merely instructs his staff to get signatures and it is not that big of a deal. If the staff is only minimally involved the incumbent can attend a number of political events during the three week period with hundreds of willing signatures available at each event. The lone wolf, the average Joe, our own John Q. Public, does not have it quite so easy.
In my case, I called a number of establishments to see if I could bring my petition inside and quietly ask people to sign to help grant me ballot access. I learned something in this process. Some establishments are quite gracious and assist in this civic duty of enabling ballot access for citizens of NEPA, who are not part of the machine.
Of course, they would also permit those of the machine and that is fair. Some establishments are not so gracious and they either put me off or took it up the flagpole only to have the owner decree that they did not engage in such politics. For me in these cases, I concluded that they had an alignment with the machine, which I did not have. Knocking on doors is the toughest way to get signatures.
I am running for Congress in 2022
Until I die, I will probably be running for some political office. When elected to Congress this year, I will serve one term and then decide whether I will run for a max of two more terms. If I was younger I might then consider a run for a six year term in the US Senate. That ought to be enough. I spent close to $5000 of my own money to run for Congress in 2010. When I ran for Mayor in 2015, I thought it would be easier. I spent about $6000 but family and friends donated about $3000 so altogether, I am out at least $8,000 and probably more because of PA ballot access laws. I won't do this again this way for sure. I wish I had the cash back for a few family vacations. Yet, here I am running for office. How am I going to pull that off? Quick-answer -- Write me in! That is how I will do it.
If voters tuned into write-in ballot laws, and there were a listing service so that anybody could announce that they were running as a write-in candidate, we can again have a democratic republic as the founders intended. It costs nothing to run as a write-in. All you have to do is make sure that the potential voters know about you. So, with the listing service, instead of having to get 1500 signatures, anybody can run for Congress. Because it would be so easy and be no charge, citizens would have a huge selection of candidates. We should talk more about this... don't you think?
With write-in ballots, ladies and gentlemen, we are not stuck with politicians as public officials.
The name of my web site as you know is briankellyforcongress.com. Feel free to check it out while I am building it. Thanks for visiting today.
God bless America!
Vote for the Underdog... Just write in Brian Kelly this time. It's that easy! Next time, send out a memo like this, and we'll all be voting for you and it will not cost you much more than a dime I think!
With 293-books, Brian W. Kelly is the most-published and thus the leading conservative author in America. He is an outspoken and eloquent expert on solutions to help America and Americans Though a Democrat, he is a JFK Democrat. One of his pet peeves is the chicanery and deceit of RINOS and DINOS on all Americans.
About Brian Kelly,:
Brian Kelly is a former IBM Senior Systems Engineer and Retired Professor of Business and Information Technology (BIT) at Marywood University in Scranton, PA. He was a candidate for US Congress from PA District 11 in 2010. Kelly was also a candidate running or Mayor in his home town of Wilkes-Barre PA in 2015. Brian still manages his own IT business (www.kellyconsulting.com), and he has recently completed his 290th available soon, when they reinstate my account after canceling me amazon.com/author/brianwkelly. Thank you
Brian is currently running for office as a write-in candidate as a Democrat for Congress to represent the 8th PA District You are on his major campaign web site at (www.briankellyforcongress.com. The good news according to Kelly is that when running as a write-in, there are lots less campaign expenses. Write in BRIAN KELLY
Thank you for being part of the quiet populist revolution to save America.