Democrat Corey Mock, who is challenging Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger this election season, has been grasping for an issue to use against Jaeger for a while. And most of his grasping (including suggesting that it’s somehow the Secretary of State’s job to get out the vote) has been pretty unconvincing.
They’ve come off more as the machinations of a candidate desperate for attention than serious criticism of an opponent.
But on this ballot mix-up involving a Libertarian Party candidate who was left off the primary ballot, I think Mock may have finally found some valid criticism.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Secretary of State Al Jaeger is defending his decision to list a Libertarian candidate for North Dakota’s Public Service Commission on the November ballot.
State law says a statewide candidate needs at least 300 primary election votes to qualify for November. PSC candidate Joshua Voytek of Fargo wasn’t on the ballot because his paperwork was misplaced in Jaeger’s office.
Jaeger says he talked to lawyers before deciding to list Voytek in November.
The Republican’s decision is getting heat from Democratic opponent Corey Mock. Mock says Jaeger doesn’t have authority to do what he’s doing.
Now, to be clear, I’m not so sure that Jaeger’s solution wasn’t a perfectly valid one. After all, what are we going to do? Re-hold the primary election?
Regardless, I think Mock has a point in suggesting that just sticking the candidate on the general election ballot isn’t the best way to go about handling this. After all, what duty does the candidate have to ensure that the Secretary of State got his/her information and that he/she will be listed on the ballot?
The Secretary of State issues sample ballots before every election. Shouldn’t the candidate have checked the ballot? Mix-ups happen, and it’s a little hard to blame Jaeger for one instance of something getting lost in the mail. But in solving that problem, Jaeger may have overstepped his bounds.
At the very least, I think an AG’s opinion to clarify how situations like this should be handled is appropriate. And perhaps, if needed, further legislation.
Mock, I think, can be criticized for getting more than a little sensational in some of his criticisms of Jaeger. He’s been making mountains out of molehills, to put it bluntly. But on this specific issue, he’s right.