I’ve just confirmed with the City Clerk’s office that the following persons will be on the ballot in November 2011:
- Peter Gajewski
- Phyllis Marcuccio
- John Hall
- Tom Moore
- Bridget Newton
- Virginia Onley
The deadline for getting on the ballot is Friday, September 9, so I suspect more names will be added this next week.
If you’re not familiar with the process, it’s not required of any other elected officials serving Rockville–not the County Council, our State Delegates, or State Senator. Each candidate has to submit a petition signed by one hundred registered Rockville voters along with their request to be placed on the ballot. Superficially, it sounds like a nice way to separate the wheat from the chaff, but it’s very hard to do. Most of us don’t know 100 registered Rockville voters, so you have to find them at shopping centers, the Metro stations, or walking your neighborhood. Because most strangers don’t want to be bothered, it provides a major advantage to incumbents who have name recognition and a existing pool of supporters. Complicating matters is that you have to sign the petition exactly as you registered to vote with the Board of Elections or it won’t count. And after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting in Tucson, shopping centers are shooing away political activities to avoid a repeat of that tragedy. So now it’s more than just an exercise in identifying serious candidates, it’s become one of Donald Trump’s projects out of “The Apprentice”. It may be legal (but I’m guessing it’s as legal as poll taxes), but this process of collecting 100 signatures isn’t required at county or state levels of government (our neighboring City of Gaithersburg requires 100 signatures, but are they our model?). Has it ensured a better quality candidate? Or has it dissuaded good residents from running? Why one hundred?