The birth certificate says the presidential candidate is 28 years old?
October 24, 2012 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Peta Lindsay (born 1984) is an American anti-war activist and presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, despite being ineligible to become president due to her age. How can she appear on my Washington State ballot as a candidate for U.S. President if she isn't at least 35 years old?
posted by three blind mice to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Best answer: Washington state is one is one of a number of states that permits candidates to appear on the ballot so long as they meet state requirements, irrespective of their status with regard to federal requirements. According to Independent Political Report:
In past elections, the Socialist Workers Party has employed the strategy of nominating Constitutionally-ineligible candidates as a way of drawing attention to what the SWP considers unjust eligibility requirements.
Basically state law determines who can appear on a state's ballot, but federal law determines who is actually eligible for the office and what happens if the President Elect is ineligible. Under Section 3 of the 20th Amendment:
...if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
The PSL party has an article on their own site that covers this a bit.
posted by RichardP at 5:03 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Being on the ballot is not the same as being president --- sure, she's on the ballot and folks can vote for her, but even if she were to win a vast majority of the votes nationwide, she is not eligble to be sworn in and actually take office.
posted by easily confused at 7:46 AM on October 24, 2012

Apparently, Lindsay has addressed this question herself, here's an interview with RT where she explains their position.

I think the gist is that they're running to protest the entire system and the exclusion of youth from the political process is a part of that system. She talks about the disproportionate toll the recession & war have taken on young people in the last decade, while they are simultaneously disenfranchised by what the PSL sees as an arbitrary age restriction. She points out that at one point she would have been constitutionally ineligible because she is African American or because she is a woman. There's more info about her campaign here.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:39 AM on October 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Actually, I don't think there ever was a constitution exclusion of African-Americans or women. As far as I know, there are and have only ever been three requirements: natural-born US citizens, age 35 and up, who have lived at least 15 years of their lives in the US.

No exclusions based on race, religion, sex, or anything other than those three things. Of course, even though, say, a woman like Elisabeth Blackwell could and did run for the presidency well over a century ago, because no women and effectively no non-whites could vote, they stood pretty much zero chance of actually winning an election. If however they had won, they could have taken office.

Peta Lindsay, on the other hand, may a natural-born citizen who has spent at least 15 years in this country, but she does not fulfill the age minimum, and that's what makes her ineligible.
posted by easily confused at 2:03 PM on October 24, 2012

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