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Mailing Foul-Ups Plague Reform Party On Candidates

By Tony Clark/CNN [Perot]

DALLAS (AllPolitics, July 25) -- This was to be the day that Reform Party officials named the candidates to be their presidential standard-bearer, but delays in mailing ballots and getting them returned have forced that announcement to be put on hold.

Russ Verney, the Reform Party national coordinator, had planned a conference call with Ernst and Young, the company hired to oversee the nomination process, to find out the results of the mail-in survey being returend by about one million party members. Anyone getting around 10 percent support would be listed on the official ballot to be voted on in just over two weeks.


Reform Party officials said they wanted to make sure former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm was included in the call so there wouldn't be charges of cover-up or vote rigging. But the call still hasn't happened.

Lamm has accused Reform Party officials of not playing fairly during the nominating process, denying him access to mailing lists and initially keeping voting results secret. Those charges frustrate Lamm's chief rival and the Reform Party's founder, Ross Perot.

"I am not doing a mailing, even though I certainly could do a mailing because I don't want an unfair advantage over Gov. Lamm," Perot said in an interview with MTV. "Don't you find that interesting? This goes back to theater and acting and they'd rather do anything in the world rather than have the American people focus on the issues." (204 K WAV sound)

Verney says Lamm's charges are typical of old style politics. "Old habits die hard, especially in American politics and if, for generations, attacking your opponent has been the road to success, if expediency over integrity has worked electing people to office, its difficult to break those habits," he said. (170 K WAV sound)

[Perot on MTV]

There have been problems, Verney admitted, in getting the nominating ballots mailed out to the 1.3 million people who signed Reform Party petitions. But political science professor Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University says those problems are understandable.

"Part of it is just really growing pains," he said. "This is an organization that was put up quickly and when you collect ballot signatures, some of them tend to turn out to be invalid."

Information on who the nominees will be may have to wait until tomorrow or even next week. That might give Perot, Lamm or any other potential candidate less than two weeks to campaign for the Reform Party nomination.

This story originally appeared on CNN's "Inside Politics."

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