Election rules should be more serious

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 15, 2007

Politicians raise money and politicians spend money. It’s all part of the cycle of an election year.

Last week, politicians across Mississippi were required to turn in their campaign finance reports.

In Adams County, 25 of the 46 candidates running for county offices failed to meet Tuesday’s campaign finance report’s deadline.

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Although Mississippi law gives them a brief grace period, we think the law is a bit too lenient and allows the deadline to become, effectively, a skid mark.

If candidates want to truly show the public how serious they are about gaining the public trust and the public vote, they must put forth a better effort into meeting such deadlines.

Missing such seemingly simple marks without good reason indicates a lack of attention to detail and a disregard for state law.

Quite simply, campaign finance laws are not tough enough.

The state should consider changing the law to include stiffer penalties for not meeting deadlines in reporting accurate information.

For example, if the candidate had to pay a fine equal to one-quarter the annual compensation of the office they’re seeking, that might open some eyes.

Or better yet, miss one deadline, pay the fine; miss two and you’re disqualified.

While you might think our suggestions are a bit over the top — and perhaps they are — the current system obviously isn’t working.

As a candidate, filing campaign finance reports is the equivalent to a student doing a homework assignment. Few excuses for failing to complete are allowed in school and little leeway needs to be given here, either. Do we really want candidates who cannot follow a simple rule and meet a simple deadline to be in charge of taxpayer money?

We think not.