When the Marine Corps Band plays "Hail to the Chief" at the next presidential inauguration, it probably won't be for candidates Joseph Bongiovanni, Carl Floyd Freeman, Nell Fiola or Prophet Elijah.
But that hasn't put any cricks in their campaigns.
One might call them a logical result of a healthy belief in the American political system. They are the people who, in their search for attention for themselves or their causes, have fattened the list of presidential candidates to 110.
"All you have to do is sign a card and list your address" to register as a candidate, said Federal Election Commission spokesman Fred Eiland.
The FEC "statements of candidacy" have streamed in from Miami; Honolulu; Baileys Crossroads, Va., Brooklyn, Long Beach, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.
Along with their registration form, prospective candidates have sent the FEC everything from poetry to pornography. One candidate who has submitted various poems along with his reports of campaign expenditures is Ray Rollinson from Columbia, N.J. Rollinson claims he got 58 percent of the vote for vice president in the New Hampshire primary of 1976.
"Most people are under the impression that presidents select their running mates" rather than accepting those who have excelled in the primaries, as he believes is the case, Rollinson said. "They've been duped by the electronic media, which doesn't want to give equal time to vice presidents, as they'd have to if the VPs were elected."
Rollinson said he will run again for vice president next year, listing himself on the ballots and reporting to the FEC as a presidential candidate.
Rollinson is among 18 Democrats who have signed up with the FEC. Records show that 27 Republicans, two Libertarians, one independent Democrat, one independent Republican, one Labor party member, 19 independents and 15 others of unstated affiliation also have announced their presidential intentions.
Most candidates randomly interviewed seemed to think they could win. "I'll beat Jimmy Carter in Georgia, Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts and Jerry Brown in California," Rollinson declared. He claimed to have more cousins in Massachusetts than Kennedy.
Nell Fiola, a 60-year-old pensioner from Crosstown, Minn., said she intends to "give the leadership that does not yet exist." Fiola said that her daughter will help her when she is ready to start campaigning, but for now, all she is doing is "eating, sleeping and breathing world events."
Fiola and Ellen McCormack of the Pro-Life Action Committee, an anti-abortion organization, are the only women so far among the prospective presidential candidates.
A 35-year-old watchman for the Western Electric Co. in New York, who changed his name to Prophet Elijah four years ago, is another candidate.
Prophet Elijah said he is campaigning on a platform of total disarmament, redistribution of natural resources and the elimination of all national boundaries.
Another candidate is Joseph Thomas Bongiovanni, a retired windowmaker who lives in Miami and says "I don't have to tell you that things have gone from bad to worse."
Bongiovanni said he feels he owes a debt to society and therefore has developed what he calls the Bongiovanni Plan to keep the national housing costs and interest rates low. He said he received inadequate response from the Washington economists and journalist to whom he presented his plan, so he is campaigning to give it the publicity he feels it deserves.
"Several people file with the FEC for frivolous reason," remarked spokesman Eiland. "They may fill out one required form and not another." If a candidate's form is conspicuously inactive for a long period, the FEC "administratively terminates" the candidacy, Eiland said.
In Decatur, Ga., Carl Floyd Freeman, a 60-year-old radio and television repairman, had been busily writing press releases all year, unaware until last month that this was one of the few files the FEC terminated. He promptly corrected the mistake.
"I'm a man with a platform; I believe I'm the only man that knows how to turn the government around in the right direction," he said.