Why would a person run for a political office when there is no chance of victory?

For Libertarian Party candidate Mike Kole, 38, of Fishers, the answer is an easy one — keep the party’s position on future Indiana ballots.

Kole is running for Indiana Secretary of State against incumbent Republican Todd Rokita and Democrat John Pearson in Tuesday’s election.

“This is the first time I’m running for any elective office,” Kole said during a telephone interview on Thursday. “I’m the only candidate for a statewide office for the party.”

The Indiana Election Commission refused to put 11 Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot because of a change in state law, he said.

“Through a loophole the party missed, which I believe was targeted for us, candidates were left off the ballot,” Kole said. “Normally we fill a number of vacancies after the state convention and this time the party chairman was supposed to give advance written notice.”

Kole said to maintain its status to be included on the ballot is based on the Secretary of State’s race.

“I come from Ohio, where the Libertarian Party has never been on the ballot,” he explained. “It takes a lot of work to collect the necessary signatures. The Green Party tried to get on the Indiana ballot and failed.”

To retain ballot status, Kole has to receive 2 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election. He said four years ago the Libertarian Party candidate for Secretary of State received 4.1 percent of the vote.

“The Libertarian Party has been on the Indiana ballot since 1994, and I want to see that continued,” Kole said. “We are a growing party. I’m confident we will get the necessary 2 percent of the vote.”

The hope is that the campaign will raise the bar for future candidates, he said.

“I have made 200 appearances, and there is increased media interest,” Kole said. “We are showing we are a serious party.”

Kole gives Rokita credit for the correct role as secretary of state and to promote the voter identification requirement.

If elected, Kole said he will promote two initiatives.

The first would be that voters receive a paper copy of their vote on electronic voting machines to verify their intent, he said.

“There is a concern that the vote may not be counted correctly or corruption might take place,” Kole said. “With a paper trail the voter can see that the vote was tabulated correctly and if not go immediately to an election official.”

The second would be an end to the gerrymandering of districts in the state for a political advantage.

“We have been talking about this for five or six years,” Kole said. “It is picking up some traction. The more choices voters have the better for representative government in Indiana.”

Kole noted that of the 125 seats up for election in the Indiana House and Senate, there are 38 uncontested races.

“Voters don’t have a choice because of gerrymandering,” he said. “The Democrats don’t have a candidate for the U.S. Senate, as a result voter turnout will be weak.”

Kole believes the secretary of state should be promoting turnout and draw people to cast a ballot instead of turning voters away.

Ken de la Bastide can be reached at (765) 454 -8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com

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