COALITION VOTER GUIDE: CONSTITUTION PARTY NOT ALLOWED
November 1, 2004
12:57 AM Eastern
According to Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party candidate for President (search), The Christian Coalition has refused to list him as a Presidential candidate in its voter guide, denying millions of Christians the right to know where he stands on issues and their right to know there is an alternative to President Bush. According to his web site, Peroutka's campaign has been unwavering in support of "America's Godly heritage and the sanctity of life."
The Peroutka campaign issued a press release which states:
"The Web page of the Christian Coalition of America says that it is our country's "leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." This page says the CCA "is dedicated to equipping and educating God's people" and it points out that "effective citizen activism begins with knowledge."
Peroutka is on the ballot in enough states to win the required number of electoral college votes to be President. His campaign attempted to get answers directly from the Christian Coalition. In a statement from Peroutka, he said:
"When my Communications Director John Lofton asked CCA President Roberta Combs why I am not in their voter guide since I am a strong Christian and conservative Presidential candidate, she said because in the past her organization had included only the Republican and Democrat Presidential candidates. She referred him to Drew McKissick, the man responsible for the CCA voting guide.
"In a conversation with Mr. McKissick, John Lofton asked him: "Why does your organization, in its voter guide, list only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates and their positions on the issues you consider important?" He replied: "We only include the two major parties and have done this since the early 1990s."
"But, why? Why only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates? Mr. McKissick: "That's just been the practice for all Federal races around the country. "But, why not include Constitution Party Presidential candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka who is a strong Christian candidate and who has run an explicitly Christian campaign? Mr. McKissick: "We only include the major party candidates and have never deviated from that." He adds that the CCA voter guide "must cover a wide range of public policy issues. Our focus can't be too narrow." He says that those Presidential candidates in the voter guide must have "a reasonable chance" of winning.
"But, why not, in your voter guide, offer Christians a wide range of Presidential candidates from which to choose? Mr. Peroutka is on enough state ballots to win enough electoral votes to be President. Mr. McKissick says they just don't include "minority party" candidates because if they did they would have to include them all. When asked what would be wrong with listing the "minority party" Presidential candidates, Mr. McKissick says he does not want to argue about this. He reiterates his defense of rating only the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates.
"But, why continue to do this if there is a third party candidate --- like Michael Anthony Peroutka --- who is a stronger Christian candidate than the Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates? Mr. McKissick: "Well, that's a very subjective thing to say about someone." He says the CCA doesn't want to be put in the position of defining who is or is not a stronger Christian because of what might be done to the CCA by the Federal Election Commission or the Internal Revenue Service.
"When pressed, Mr. McKissick said the CCA had "an agreement" to put Presidential candidates in its voter guide only if they polled more than 15 percent of the vote. Where did the 15 percent figure come from? He says "it was decided years ago." By whom? By "someone in the Coalition," he says. But, why 15 percent and not 14 percent or 16 percent? He says: "You've got to set a line somewhere."
Peroutka's final comment on the matter was, "To be excluded from the voter guide of the Christian Coalition of America is unfair to millions of Christians who look to the CCA for an honest and thorough representation of the available candidates. Moreover, it is self-contradictory for the CCA to arbitrarily limit the information it provides voters when the organization's stated purpose is to educate Christians to the alternative candidates."
Several months ago, candidates from other political parties filed a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) (search) because they excluded all but President Bush and John Kerry. While constitutional hawks commend these parties for fighting back, they all agree that the courts will continue to dismiss such lawsuits. The CPD is a privately owned and funded operation and will argue that as such, they are under no obligation to include any candidates they don't want to participate.
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According to Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party candidate for President (search), The Christian Coalition has refused to list him as a Presidential candidate in its voter guide, denying millions of Christians the right to know where he stands on issues...