From the California Green Party:
What: Signature drive to overcome new election rules designed to keep traditionally qualified parties like the Greens and others off the ballot
Who: Luis Rodriguez, Green Party endorsed candidate for governor, is collecting signatures to ensure being on the June 2014 ballot.
Where: Hollywood, in front of the Farm Fresh Ranch Market, 5520 Sunset Blvd.
When: Wednesday, February 19, 1pm-2pm
In the face of an almost seven-fold increase in the number of signatures to be on the ballot because of the Top Two, Green-endorsed candidate for Governor Luis J. Rodriguez will be signature gathering Wednesday afternoon in Hollywood, in front of the Farm Fresh Ranch Market at 1pm.
Under California’s new Top Two law, statewide candidates from the minor parties must collect 10,000 signatures to get their candidates on the ballot or pay the fee, which ranges from $2,600 to $3,500 per office. The old signature threshold was just 150 signatures from party members. The signature deadline is Thursday, February 20th.
“Although we have risen to this challenge with dozens of unpaid, mostly young volunteer petition circulators, we regard the 10,000-signature requirement to be an undemocratic impediment to the ballot.,” says Rodriguez, who is waging a grassroots campaign on issues of ending poverty and the schools-to-prison pipeline. “The Top Two favors moneyed interests at the expense of diverse voices, that have every right to be heard. We call upon the legislature to amend this law in favor of more fair ballot access for the people of California.”
Since 1992, the Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, and American Independent parties have averaged a combined 133 candidates on the ballot in California each election. In 2012, they cumulatively ran only 21 candidates, the lowest minor party total since 1966 – when no minor parties were on the ballot. As a part of ‘implementing’ the Top Two, the legislature also removed the general election write-in candidacy option — without putting it to a vote of the people, to a right California has known since 1850.
“Voters were not asked ‘do you want to make it much harder for smaller parties to participate in the system?’ when the Top Two system was passed in 2010. Yet that is exactly what the Top Two was designed to do,” states GPCA state spokesperson Michael Feinstein. “Under the Top Two, few minor party candidates can get enough signatures to avoid the fee, and few can afford paying the fee – leading to fewer candidates overall from these parties, and fewer and more narrow options for voters.”
These same political parties also face losing their ballot status entirely because of the Top Two, because they no longer will appear on the statewide general election ballot, where previously a result of 2% or more guaranteed them ballot status for another four years, something these traditionally qualified smaller parties have achieved consistently over several decades.
“California voters were not told of these negative affects upon smaller parties in the Ballot Title and Summary for the Top Two,” says Feinstein, a former Mayor of Santa Monica. “A democracy is healthier when multiple voices are heard and represented in our electoral system and in our government. We call upon the legislature to make meaningful changes in the state elections code to restore the ability of these parties — and the diverse and important voices they represent — to participate in the system.”
For more about the ballot issue, see: In statewide debut, top-two primary blocks third parties from June ballot, February 14, 2014.
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About the Green Party of California
The Green Party of California (GPCA) is guided by its Platform and the Ten Key Values of the Green Movement: Ecological Wisdom, Grassroots Democracy, Social Justice, Nonviolence, Decentralization, Community Based Economics, Feminism, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Sustainability.
The Green Party has endorsed four candidates for statewide office in 2014: Luis Rodriguez (Governor), Laura Wells (Controller), Ellen Brown (Treasurer) and David Curtis (Secretary of State).
The GPCA distinguishes itself from and provides an alternative to traditionally entrenched parties, including by accepting no corporate contributions. In 2013 an all-time high number of California Greens were elected to local office for an odd-numbered year, along with these other highlights.The GPCA is affiliated with the Green Party of the United States (GPUS), and through the GPUS to the Federacion de Partidos Verdes de las Americas and the Global Greens.
Currently, 55 California Greens hold public office statewide. Since the GPCA’s founding in 1990, 293 California Greens have been elected to public office.