The idealistic axiom that any child in America can grow up to be president is debatable — for one thing, you need lots of cash — but one thing’s for sure: Any of them can run for president, at least in Arizona.
Unlike most other states, our presidential preference primary has no required minimum number of signatures, not even a filing fee.
All it takes is a properly filled-out two-page form filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Forty-eight people — 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans — completed the paperwork. As the Tribune’s Paul Giblin reported Wednesday, they include the well-known names of those we’ve been seeing standing behind various lecterns, as well as some rather ordinary folks. And although the registration form asks whether the candidate is registered to vote, it is no barrier to running if one is not, only that one is simply eligible to be registered.
This bothers Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer, who told Giblin that she favors changing Arizona law to raise the requirements, at least to require candidates to be voters so they could vote for themselves.
We disagree. Many people have been registered to vote for years but that is no guarantee that they possess a greater understanding of the issues. And petition-signature-gathering is now almost the exclusive province of professional gatherers. So much for the notion that getting signatures somehow unites a candidate with the public.
The process is just fine the way it is. It enables voters with a far greater amount of choice for their parties’ nominees for the nation’s highest office than are often found for governor, mayor or school board. If anything, more candidates should run for those offices.