While I agreed with the decision to allow Ben Smith’s candidacy to move forward, I disagree that the administration in Clear Lake should have been involved with the decision making process in the first place.
If a current administration in power wanted to influence an election outcome, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with reasons to mount a challenge and have a candidacy rendered invalid.
While I laud Mayor Crabb’s upholding of the sanctity of the democratic process, decisions on such matters in the future should be rendered in jurisdictions outside where the office is being sought, particularly in Des Moines at the Secretary of State’s office or within the court system.
Bennett Smith’s concerns about copycat name declarations are valid, even though in this instance Ben Smith’s usage was entirely coincidental. There is nothing in the Iowa Code to prevent someone from declaring their name on a ballot as “Mickey Mouse," and nothing to prevent a biased sitting mayor, city clerk, and city council member from invalidating a candidacy on purely political grounds.
Absurd as it sounds, if someone really wanted to run against Mayor Crabb as Mayor Crabb, technically they can do so under Iowa Code, and Nelson Crabb could both mount a challenge to such a candidacy, while simultaneously deciding on it.
Close these ridiculous loopholes. Change the Iowa code.
Peter Lagios, Clear Lake