In an op-ed in Crawfordsville, Indiana’s Journal Review, Montgomery County Republican Party chairman John Pickerill denounced what he called a “major party cartel” between Republican and Democratic lawmakers that controls state election laws and grants special favors to major party candidates and voters at the expense of third parties.
“Hoosiers have stood by and allowed our General Assembly to grant special privileges to the top two political parties, special privileges that all-but-guarantee leaders within those two parties will maintain a stranglehold on political power in our state,” wrote Pickerill.
“State law defines a ‘Major Political Party’ as those two parties who got the most votes in the last election for Secretary of State. State law then hands entire control of our election system to these two parties.”
Pickerill noted that only Republicans and Democrats can serve on or be employees of the Indiana Election Commission. He said that Republican and Democratic county chairmen “pick every county election board member and every poll worker.”
“Only [major party] members are allowed to be members of a recount commission, even if one of the candidates in the recount is a [non-major party] candidate. Is it any surprise that every statewide office is held by a [major party] member?” he said.
Pickerill pointed out the fact that taxpayers, including supporters of third parties, are required to fund the top two parties’ primaries, which gives Republicans and Democrats an advantage in exposure over third parties.
He added, “Only major political parties get the special privilege to fill an office vacancy by precinct committeeman caucus. This guarantees if a [major party] officeholder is removed, resigns, or dies that his [party] gets to replace him with one of its own. But not true for any other party or independent. For example, if a Green Party county councilman resigned, the Green Party wouldn’t be allowed to pick his replacement. No, instead the other six county councilmen get to decide it. The flawed system encourages independents and third-party candidates to be weeded out.”
Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger, a ballot access and election law expert, said that “[Pickerill] could have [also] mentioned the straight-ticket device, and the law that gives the two major parties the top spots on the ballot, and the ballot access laws [favoring major parties], but he didn’t mention those points.” Indiana’s straight-ticket device is a mechanism allowing voters the option of conveniently choosing all of the Republicans or Democrats on the ballot in one click.
Pickerill, who clarified that his opinions are his own and do not represent the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, said, “The Republican Party and Democratic Party pretend to have opposing views, but when you look past all the rhetoric there’s no significant difference in what they are really supporting. Neither party is serious about reigning in the size of government to constitutional constraints. Neither enacts anything more than token protection of civil liberties and economic liberties. Both create new schemes to interfere with the economy and enact more and more government programs.”
Pickerill called for a judge to rule the biased election laws unconstitutional and said, “A political party should have to win voters over with the best ideas, not by rigging the system.”
The Truth in Media Project recently released a Consider This video highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.