Pennsylvania Green Party members are condemning the “utter failure and disregard for the authority of federal courts” concerning alternative party ballot access. Jay Sweeney of Wyoming County said a July 2015 court decision that found two sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code unconstitutional as applied to Green, Constitution, and Libertarian parties determined that “the extraordinary signature requirement, in combination with the requirement that defending candidates pay the costs of validating those signatures, is unconstitutional. Still, the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Administration [of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf] have failed to recognize the power of that judgment.”
A bill pending in the state Senate addresses the issue, but there has only been one committee hearing on the bill. Green Party activist Emily Cook of Montgomery County said, “In September, the State Government Committee held a hearing on the Voter Choice Act, yet most of the senators on the committee failed to even show up for the hearing. Since then no further movement has occurred. In the alternative, the Secretary of the Commonwealth can decree a more reasonable standard for ballot qualification until such time as the General Assembly acts.”
On Monday, May 16, a hearing will be held in federal court in Philadelphia on an injunction asking the federal courts to intervene and instruct the Commonwealth to comply with the decision. The injunction seeks to have Secretary Pedro Cortes, under his administrative authority, place the Green, Constitution, Libertarian candidates on the ballot. A second option would be for the signature requirement for the parties to be reduced to the same number that Republicans and Democrats need, which is 2,000. Cortes is insisting that the minor parties be required to achieve a minimum signature level of 21,775.
Courthouse News Service reports a panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “expressed doubt Wednesday over the Arizona Green Party’s claim that a 180-day signature-gathering deadline makes it unconstitutionally difficult for minor parties to qualify for the primary ballot.” During oral arguments, “the three-judge panel pointed to the Green Party’s lack of evidence showing that Arizona’s election rules cause a substantial burden.”
Attorney Julia Damron, arguing for the Greens, “said that while the Arizona Green Party has qualified for the 2016 ballot and the 2020 ballot, ‘the live controversy is ongoing.'” But Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown “noted an absence of evidence in the record to show that the rule illegally burdens minor political parties.”
U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story ruled Thursday that Georgia’s requirement that political organizations seeking to put a presidential candidate’s name on a statewide ballot have to get signatures from one percent of registered voters is unconstitutional.
The Green Party of Georgia and the Constitution Party of Georgia has filed suit against Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp over the requirement, which in 2012 required 50,334 signatures for presidential ballot access. Story ruled that a presidential candidate must submit 7,500 signatures on a petition that otherwise complies with state law to be put on the ballot.
Georgia Green Party co-chair Bruce Dixon said, “You can’t vote for an antiwar candidate, a peace and justice candidate if state laws keep peace and justice candidates off the ballot. You can’t vote for a candidate opposing Common Core and school privatization, if those are not allowed on the ballot. Up till now, Georgia’s Democrats and Republicans have colluded to restrict the choices of voters by keeping other parties and candidates off the ballot.”
According to Ballot Access News, there are currently 631 registered members of the Green Party in Delaware, 22 votes below the state requirement for ballot access this year. The party “has until August to increase its registration.”
The University of North Carolina Asheville Blue Banner has released the full video and transcript of news editor Larisa Karr’s interview with Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, which took place on November 15 during Stein’s North Carolina campaign tour.
Karr writes, “Stein is tireless, fearless, and just won’t stop. In between campaigning in the United States and going to Paris to attend the recent COP21 conference, the Green Party presidential candidate sat down with the Banner last semester to discuss student loans, America’s foreign policy, and why she was handcuffed to a chair for hours during the last presidential debate.”
In other Stein campaign news, Stein is making a push to get on the general election ballot in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Utah. In 2012, Stein was on the ballot in Rhode Island and Utah, but ran as a write-in candidate in New Hampshire. She said, “Getting on the 2016 ballot for New Hampshire’s 873,932 registered voters would be an inspiring demonstration of how our movement is gaining momentum!”
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will join Cornel West for an “Un-Block The Vote” rally at Georgia State University in Atlanta this afternoon at 4:00 p.m., followed by another event at Project South at 7:00 p.m.
The organizers write, “For decades, Georgia Republicans and Democrats have protected themselves against third parties with unfair laws that require 50,000 of voter signatures to place a candidate on the statewide ballot, a rule which does NOT apply to them. Without a third party on the ballot, you cannot vote for peace, or the abolition of student and consumer debt. Without a third party on the ballot there is no way to vote against gentrification or Common Core or privatization or mass incarceration. Join us and Cornel West this Friday and help us kick off the drive to get 50,000 and get Green Party 2016 presidential candidate on the ballot in Georgia.”
Green Party of Philadelphia chair Glenn C. Davis has been removed from that city’s November ballot for city commissioner, Ballot Access News reports, “on the grounds that he didn’t have enough signatures.” Davis plans to appeal the ruling.
BAN says the judge “was not moved by the fact that last month, the procedure for checking signatures had been held unconstitutional as applied to Green Party nominees. Immediately after the ruling, the judge announced that he is retiring effective immediately and that this had been his last case.”
On July 24, a a U.S. District Court struck down Pennsylvania’s challenge procedures as applied to the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian parties.
Ballot Access News reports that Glenn C. Davis, Green Party candidate for Philadelphia city commissioner, is facing a petition challenge “even though on July 24, 2015, a U.S. District Court struck down Pennsylvania’s challenge procedures as applied to the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian parties.”
Davis is the chair of the Green Party of Philadelphia.
The National Green Party’s Ballot Access Committee is finalizing a plan to increase our ballot lines from 21 at the end of 2014 to 31 by the end of 2015. The more petition drives we complete in 2015, the more our Presidential candidate can focus on campaigning and building the party instead of fighting just to get on the ballot.
It is our pleasure to inform you that our petition drive has started in Missouri. Our state affiliate in Missouri, which is called the Progressive Party, needs 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot. We hope to complete the petition drive this year and recruit a slate of statewide candidates to run in 2016. Continue Reading →