“Let’s require every candidate to collect public signatures to secure ballot access. This step will open competition to a wider field of candidates and push legislators to be true representatives of their constituents as well as policymakers.”
Our primary system is deeply flawed. Connecticut voters don’t get to weigh in on state-level elections until party bosses and hand-picked delegates have already elevated their chosen candidates. Those without insider support have mere weeks to gather hundreds or thousands of signatures in order to qualify for ballot access. And although a step in the right direction, our system of public financing still keeps far too much money in politics.
These problems insulate insiders from competition, creating a culture of complacency and rejecting new perspectives that are critical to Connecticut’s future. The average State Senator has walked the halls of our Capitol for over a decade, and party leadership is even more deeply entrenched.
Let’s make primary ballot access a simple matter of collecting public signatures over the span of several months. Let’s fix the primary election to allow voters rather than party bosses the first stab at candidate endorsement. And let’s reform the Citizens’ Elections Program to require signatures, not dollars, to qualify campaigns for public financing. Democracy should be about community engagement — not delegates or donors.