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Ballot Access – Segneri Interviews Huckelberry

May 9, 2012 in Ballot Access

Unlike the Democrats and Republicans, the Green Party often has to struggle to get on the ballot in a country that claims “Democracy” as a core value. In some states, Greens have no barriers to the ballot, but in many others state laws make it extremely hard for alternative political parties to get on the ballot.

AJ Segneri interviewed Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the Green Party’s Ballot Access Committee, and published it at Dissident Voice. You can also read the interview here, below the fold. If you don’t know much about ballot access issues for third parties you might find it quite enlightening.

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Pennsylvania Greens Need Your Help!

April 17, 2012 in Ballot Access, State Party News

Greens in Pennsylvania are off and running, seeking over 30,000 signatures to get the Green Party’s candidate for President on the ballot. If you live in or near Pennsylvania – you can help!

From the GP of PA:

Green Party Petition Update – April 10, 2012

If you want to help get the Green Party on the ballot for this November, please contact Hillary at

Upcoming events

Please send me information about any events that might be good for collecting signatures. This is what I know about so far. More details are in the GPPA Events Calendar.

Philadelphia – Sat, 4/14 – 99% Action Training at Arch Street Methodist Church
Altoona area – Sat. 4/21 – Logan Township Mall event
Philadelphia – Sat. 4/21 – Clear Air 5K and 4th Annual Earth Uprising
Wilkes-Barre – Sat. 4/21 – Restoring Freedoms event
Altoona – Sun, 4/22 – Penn State Altoona Earth Day
Statewide – Tues, 4/24 – Primary Day

Primary Day is one of our best petitioning days of the year. Please plan to take off work or do whatever you can to spend some time at the polls on election day. This is also great practice for our Get Out the Vote efforts in November.

We’re also planning a big weekend in Philadelphia May 5-6. There are two big events in NW Philly that weekend — Mt. Airy Day on Sat., May 5, and the Chestnut Hill Garden Festival on Sunday, May 6. We can arrange for home stays for anyone who can come to Philly and spend the weekend petitioning. Might also get together a fundraiser on Sat. night…stay tuned for details.

Your local Presidential Caucus is also a great place to petition — and more importantly, recruit attendees to join you as petitioners. Bring plenty of blank petitions to your caucus and even do a mini petition training after the caucus if you can. Read more about the caucuses here:

Going Door-to-Door

Going door-to-door with street lists is a great way to petition and campaign at the same time. If you’re able to knock on doors in your own neighborhood, let me know so I can email you a street list. A street list has the names of all registered voters in a particular area and is sorted by house number so you can just walk up and down the street with it and know whether you’re talking to registered voters or not.

Getting more petitioners

We’re up to 69 people actively collecting signature (or planning to) and we need many more people to make this a success. Can you help reach out to Greens and other potential volunteers in your area? Please let me know. Please also forward this email to your local lists.


Just a reminder as to why we’re doing this…

Thanks and Happy Petitioning!

The Urgency Is Now For Greens!

April 16, 2012 in Ballot Access, Presidential Campaign

This is an urgent time for the Green Party. Specifically, right now is a time of great urgency for achieving ballot access and matching funds in 2012. Yes, the general election is more than seven months off, and even our national convention is three months off. But the urgency is here, and Greens need to understand that NOW is the time to get fired up about making a difference in 2012.

The following was sent to us from Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the Green Party’s Ballot Access Committee. Every Green should read this and take action.

This is an urgent time for the Green Party. Specifically, right now is a time of great urgency for achieving ballot access and matching funds in 2012. Yes, the general election is more than seven months off, and even our national convention is three months off. But the urgency is here, and Greens need to understand that NOW is the time to get fired up about making a difference in 2012.


Merriam-Webster defines URGENCY as “the quality or state of being urgent”, and URGENT as “calling for immediate attention”. An EMERGENCY is “an urgent need for assistance or relief”, or “an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action”.

The distinction between an urgent situation and an emergency situation, then, is what attention is needed. If it’s truly an emergency, the “attention” needed is generally fast action, often in the form of some kind of “relief”. Think of the difference between going to Urgent Care and going to an Emergency Room. The situation doesn’t need to be an emergency to warrant a state of urgency. And, often times, a situation becomes an emergency because the prior urgency of the situation wasn’t sufficiently regarded. Everyone knows of a story where someone put off medical care, only to have the situation turn into an emergency.

I go through this long semantic distinction because we are experiencing a phenomenon right now which I have seen repeatedly in our party. At a time when we are confronting a series of urgent situations, the urgency is disregarded, because it does not feel like an emergency.


Every state has different laws about how parties and candidates can get on the ballot. In some states ballot access is very easy, or the Green Party has had it for so long that people don’t ever think about it. But in other states, oppressive laws designed to keep parties like ours from existing have meant that no Green Party candidate has ever been on the ballot in those states. The Green Party is more experienced than ever before, though, and we have the potential to put our presidential ticket on the ballot in states where people have never been able to vote Green. To accomplish this, we’ll need a lot of hard work, and a lot of money. And we need to be acting NOW.

The problem is that across the country there is an absolute lack of urgency on the part of state parties in achieving ballot access. Sure, there’s more activity in some states than others. But as of right now – I’m typing this on April 11 – there are about 15 states where we could be collecting signature right now, and yet the petition has not even been prepared yet!

Think back about the person who put off medical treatment and wound up in the Emergency Room. In the long run, that person probably absorbed far more expenses, and worse overall health, by not taking care of the situation early on. In much the same way, when state parties drag their feet on ballot access drives, it often sets up emergency situations down the road which cost more to fix than it would have cost if there was effective collaboration from the outset.

So achieving ballot access right now is truly an URGENT situation. In the majority of states, there are ballot drives which require immediate attention. That means that Green Party leaders everywhere have the responsibility to lead by example and prioritize these ballot drives – and not just the ones in their own states.

A common, gigantic misconception is that we can’t really think about ballot access in most places until we hold our convention and formally nominate a presidential ticket. The reality, though, is that several states impose deadlines which precede our national convention, or which are so soon thereafter that we couldn’t possibly start after the convention. BALLOT ACCESS CANNOT WAIT!

Our credibility as a party in the eyes of the electorate hinges largely on our being on the ballot across the vast majority of the country. In 2000, Ralph Nader made it onto 44 ballot lines. But since 2000, we haven’t been on the ballot in more than 32 ballot lines in any given year. Some state parties which failed to achieve ballot access in 2004 have not run a single candidate for any office in the last eight years. That’s how huge this issue is for the Green Party. Where we do not have ballot access, to a very real extent, we do not exist as a political party – even in the eyes of our own members.

2012 is shaping up to be different. We can be on 45 or more state ballot lines for the first time ever. Doing this would be the biggest accomplishment of the party as a national political force that we’ve experienced since 2000. For this to happen, we must all accept the inherent urgency of the situation!


In order to reach and exceed 45 ballot lines, we absolutely must achieve federal matching funds. And we must achieve matching funds as soon as possible. You can read here [a link will go here] an explanation of some of the rules of how federal matching funds work. Here is a short version:

There are two types of matching funds. There are primary matching funds and general election matching funds. General election matching funds, which could mean several million dollars for the Green Party come the year 2016, can only be achieved by our presidential ticket winning 5% of the vote this November. But winning 5% of the vote is not realistically possible unless our ticket is on at least 45 ballot lines. So before we can really talk about general election matching funds, we’ve got to get on the ballot everywhere first.

The goal right now, then, is to achieve PRIMARY MATCHING FUNDS. This is achievable not by the party itself, but instead by individual presidential campaigns. A campaign can achieve primary matching funds by receiving aggregate qualifying contributions of $5,000 or more in at least 20 different states, if this is done before the Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention (July 12-15 in Baltimore).

This is the most important thing for people to understand: ONLY DONATIONS GIVEN PRIOR TO THE NOMINATION COUNT! Donations after the convention are great, but they won’t count toward the threshold, and they won’t be matched! So for Greens, NOW IS THE URGENT TIME FOR FUNDRAISING!

And it’s not just about receiving the donations before the convention. The Federal Elections Commission has to verify that the threshold has been reached. So realistically, all of these contributions need to come in weeks in advance – probably no later than mid-June!

Besides that, the earlier we get over the top, the better, for three huge reasons. First, the earlier we get there, the longer a period of time we have in which donors can be told that funds are already being matched – that will make fundraising that much more effective at that point. Second, it only stands to reason that if you hit a fundraising threshold earlier, you’re going to do even better for fundraising along the way because there’s more time involved.

But the other reason for heightened urgency is this: the sooner we hit the threshold, the sooner the FEC will send tens of thousands of dollars in matching funds, a great deal of which will be applied to ballot drives which will end before the national convention. The difference between achieving matching funds at the end of May and the end of June is literally that the first $100,000 in matching funds will arrive a month earlier, in time for the last month of critical ballot drives in Illinois and Indiana. Indiana is one of those states in which the Green Party has never been on the statewide ballot – their only realistic shot lies in achieving matching funds as soon as possible!

The lesson here is that we cannot wait on ballot access, and that means that we cannot wait on matching funds. State parties simply have to get moving now.

Phil Huckelberry is Chair of the Illinois Green Party and Co-Chair of the Green Party of the United States Ballot Access Committee.


Jill Stein’s campaign has made a huge priority of ballot access and matching funds. These pages include maps showing state by state breakdowns of party ballot access and the campaign’s quest to reach the 20 state threshold for matching funds:

At this point the Stein campaign is the major force in establishing Green Party ballot lines across the country. The Utah ballot drive was entirely funded and administered by the campaign, and the New Mexico drive was largely funded and organized by the campaign.

Roseanne Barr’s campaign has also declared a priority of achieving Green Party ballot access across the country. Because of a self-financing limit her campaign may not be seeking matching funds. Her campaign website is:

Green Party of New Mexico Submits Signatures for Ballot Access

April 4, 2012 in Ballot Access, State Party News

According to the Jill Stein Campaign, who partnered with the Green Party of New Mexico to coordinate the petition drive to get the Green Party back on the ballot in New Mexico, volunteers have submitted over 4,500 signatures to surpass the 3,000 signature threshold needed. That puts the Green Party at 21 States, with 11 more currently petitioning. From the Stein Campaign:

This morning, the Stein campaign announced that nearly 4500 signatures of registered New Mexico voters have been collected and submitted to place the Green Party on the ballot in that state. This represents an excess of 50% over the minimum required for ballot status.

The signatures were collected by volunteers and staff organized by the Stein campaign in cooperation with the New Mexico Green Party. The campaign provided a full time field organizer on the ground as well as travel money for volunteers who came from California, Wisconsin, and Connecticut to put New Mexico on the ballot.

On hearing the good news, Dr. Stein said that, “That is terrific work for which we should all congratulate the New Mexico Greens. I’m proud of what they’ve done, and very happy that my campaign could play the role it did in making this happen. New Mexico is back on the Green map.”

The Stein campaign has already put the Utah Greens on the ballot, and assisted the Hawai’i Greens in securing their ballot line. The campaign has also already, sometimes in cooperation with existing parties, sometimes on its own, launched new ballot drives in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Vermont, with many more to come. Jill Stein is also party to an Alabama lawsuit intended to reform ballot access rules in that state.

Georgia Greens Welcome Barr’s Commitment to 50 State Ballot Lines

April 3, 2012 in Ballot Access, Press Release

In a press release from the Georgia Green Party, they note that the Green Party has never been able to achieve more than 44 state party lines in the same year. Georgia is one of the worst states in terms of ballot access for third parties, and the Georgia Green Party is clearly frustrated with this. Given the potential success that a Cynthia McKinney campaign for Congress could have, and McKinney’s support for Roseanne Barr, this is an interesting statement.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

For further information, contact:
Bruce Dixon, 678-298-9463 x3
Press Secretary, Georgia Green Party

Greens Welcome Candidates’ Commitment to Ballot Access
Barr’s commitment to 50 State Ballot Lines unprecedented

“We welcome Roseanne Barr’s commitment to running on fifty ballot
lines,” said Adam Shapiro, chairman of the Georgia Green Party. “We
invite all Greens and others concerned with creating a just and
sustainable future to rally to our ballot access efforts so we can
offer Georgia voters a meaningful way to cast their ballot this

After election cycles of being ignored as unobtainable, the Georgia
Green Party leaders welcomed a statement made this weekend by Roseanne
Barr, a candidate for the Green Party Presidential Nomination, in her
address to an Assembly of the DC Statehood Green Party. Following up on
a question about her support for DC Statehood, Ms. Barr told the
Statehood Green Party event, ” . . . part of why I am involved in
running as President, running as a nominee for the Green Party
candidate for the Presidency is for more ballot access, all across the
board, in all fifty states.”
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Maryland Green Party to Defend Ballot Access Petition in State’s High Court

February 24, 2012 in Ballot Access, State Party News

The Maryland Green Party will be back in court to defend their 15,000 ballot access signatures as the Maryland State Election Board tries to deny them ballot access. From the Green Party:

Maryland Green Party to Defend Ballot Access Petition in State’s High Court

Maryland Green Party members will be in attendance at the Maryland Court of Appeals in Annapolis on Friday, March 2, 2012 as their ballot access lawsuit goes before the state’s high court. The case of Libertarian Party of Maryland and Maryland Green Party v. State Board of Elections will be heard by the court that morning.

The Green Party filed suit in conjunction with the Libertarian Party in March 2011 after the State Board of Elections rejected thousands of signatures intended to extend the party’s status as a recognized political party. An Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge decided in favor of the parties in June 2011 and ordered them placed on the ballot. The Court of Appeals will hear the Board of Elections’ appeal next Friday.

Green Party members are prepared to begin circulating new petitions to meet the 10,000 signature requirement to extend the party’s ballot status. The Green Party is currently ballot-qualified but will have to collect approximately four thousand new valid signatures if the Court of Appeals rules against the two parties.

“We worked for over a year to collect nearly 15,000 signatures,” notes party co-chair Brian Bittner, “and although the Board of Elections was able to identify significantly more than ten thousand voters who had signed the petition, the majority of them were rejected because they had signed without their middle initial or used a nickname like Bill or Betty. We went to court to win Marylanders’ right to place a new political party on the ballot and eventually vote for those candidates. It will be a major disappointment if that win is overturned and we have to go back out on the streets for more signatures, but we are willing to do that to keep what we have struggled for over the last decade.”
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Jill Stein Campaign Puts Green Party on Ballot in Utah

February 15, 2012 in Ballot Access, Presidential Campaign

The Jill Stein Campaign reported this afternoon that it has collected over 3,000 signatures to put the Green Party on the ballot in Utah.

For the past week, volunteers and staff for Jill Stein for President have been working day and night in Salt Lake City and neighboring communities. With Utah, the Green Party of the United States has secured 19 ballot lines, and has not missed a single deadline in working towards the goal of winning ballot access in almost every state.

“We succeeded in Utah through the hard work of our volunteers and campaign workers,” said Jill Stein. “I am committed to winning the right of voters to vote Green in every state in the union, and I am thankful to our supporters for donating the money and time to bring Utah voters into a fuller democracy.” Utah law required 2000 registered voters to signature their intention to join a new party in order for that party to win ballot access.

The Stein Campaign has also noted that these ballot access drives cost money, on average $6,000 per state, and is asking for your support to continue their efforts. The Stein Campaign has already helped kick start a new State Chapter of the Green Party in New Hampshire, and helped launch petition drives for ballot access in Indiana, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Campaign volunteer Sarah Manski put this video together about the Utah petition drive:

PA Democrat convicted of using state resources against Green Party for political purposes

February 6, 2012 in Ballot Access

Hat tip to Ballot Access News for this story:

On February 6, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania jury convicted State Representative H. William DeWeese of using state resources to work on partisan political activity during the period 2000-2006. DeWeese was in the Democratic leadership in the House during those years. He directed staff to use government employees and government computers to help challenge the 2004 petition of Ralph Nader, and the 2006 statewide Green Party petition. See this story. DeWeese is currently in the legislature, and has been a state legislator since he was elected in a special election in May, 1976.

Green Party Wins Ballot Access in Tennessee

February 4, 2012 in Ballot Access, State Party News

According to Ballot Access News, the Green Party and Constitution Party in Tennessee have won access to the Ballot in Tennessee via lawsuit:

On February 3, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes invalidated Tennessee’s new ballot access law for minor parties. The case is Green Party of Tennessee and Constitution Party of Tennessee v Hargett, 3:11-00692. The decision is 90 pages. It strikes down the early April petition deadline, and also strikes down the 40,029 signature petition requirement. And, it says that it is unconstitutional to force minor parties to nominate by primary, at least in the context of an open primary state that doesn’t have party registration. It strikes down the 2011 law that reserves the best positions on the ballot for the two major parties.

The decision also puts the Constitution and Green Parties on the 2012 ballot, based on the evidence that in the recent past, both parties did collect several thousand signatures on petitions to get on the Tennessee ballot.

This is very big for the Green Party, which would have had a very difficult time getting on the Tennessee ballot if the new ballot access law remained in place.

Green Party qualifies for Arkansas ballot

January 20, 2012 in Ballot Access

The Arkansas Times reports:

Secretary of State Mark Martin said the Green Party gathered sufficient signatures to qualify for a party slot on the Arkansas election ballot this year. The party must hold a nominating convention by May 22.

The Arkansas Greens’ Jim Lendall joined the discussion to offer details about the road ahead: Read the rest of this entry →

Green Party of Oklahoma to sue State over Ballot Access

January 14, 2012 in Ballot Access, State Party News

Posted at the Green Party of Oklahoma:

The Green Party of Oklahoma will be filing suit in February against the state of Oklahoma, to challenge the state’s ultra-restrictive ballot access laws.

Oklahoma was the only state in the union to allow only two choices for President in 2004 and 2008. Without a change in the law, this sordid history will repeat itself in 2012.

If you are an registered Oklahoma voter who would like to be a potential plaintiff in this case, please contact attorney James M. Branum.

We are also looking for donations to help fund the cost of litigation. Donations can be sent directly to the attorney with a credit or debit card via paypal by clicking here. Donations received will pay for the availability retainer, legal fees and costs of litigation.

More on Illinois Green Party’s Lawsuit for Ballot Access

December 26, 2011 in Ballot Access, State Party News

As reported here in October, the Illinois Green Party has filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections over their interpretation of the “Established Party” statute. The Examiner (Chicago) has an excellent update on the status of the Illinois Green Party’s lawsuit for Ballot Access on behalf of Congressional Candidate Laurel Lambert Schmidt and others.

Some excerpts:

Laurel Lambert Schmidt will be traveling to Springfield (Illinois) on Tuesday, December 27th to file her 1315 petitions that she and about a dozen volunteers collected in the 3rd Congressional District to run again in the 2012 election in the same district, now redrawn. She only needed 600 petitions to be placed on the ballot as a member of the ILGP.

However, The Illinois Board of Election (ISBE) will likely not accept her petitions as an Illinois Green Party candidate this time, because the IBSE no longer recognizes the ILGP as an “established political party.” For Schmidt to gain ballot access for the 3rd Congressional district, she would now need 5000 signatures.

On the status of the lawsuit so far:

The ILGP had lost its first case in Cook County Circuit Court before Circuit Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon, who is also the Presiding Judge for the 4th Municipal District. The court cited the precedent of Vestrup v. DuPage County Election Commission, which was a 2002 case involving a Libertarian Party candidate.

The Illinois Green Party (ILGP) suffered another setback on Thursday in their bid to gain “ballot access” for several of its candidates statewide in Illinois. The First Judicial District Illinois Appellate Court (5th Division) ruled the Green Party cannot be on the March primary ballot in Illinois. The order to affirm an earlier lower court ruling was signed by Appellate Court Justices James R. Epstein, Joseph Gordon, Margaret Stanton McBride, and Nathaniel R. Howse Jr.

Bring it home, Andy Finko:

Andrew Finko is adamant about the cozy relationship between the court and the Democratic Party. “In Cook County, all the trial court and appellate court judges are Democrats and owe their jobs to the Democratic party that endorsed, promoted, and made it possible for them to be elected. Outsiders do not get elected to judge,” said Finko.

He added, “Regardless of the appearances, they all have an inherent, non-waivable conflict of interest when presiding over political cases. Whether directly and/or indirectly, they all want to help their team and keep their good relations with the party that gave them their jobs.”

I highly recommend reading the entire piece at The Examiner.

Illinois Green Party Files Suit Against State Board of Elections

October 25, 2011 in Ballot Access, State Party News

The Illinois Green Party, and congressional candidate Laurel Lambert Schmidt, on Monday filed suit against the State Board of Elections over the Board’s interpretation of the “established party” statute. A victory for the plaintiffs would substantially lower ballot access bars for Green candidates in numerous congressional and legislative districts across the state, which would allow for many more Greens to run for office in 2012.

The case, Schmidt v. State Board of Elections, was filed in Cook County Circuit Court (11-CH-36783). The complaint charges that the Board erred in determining that the Green Party does not retain established party status in areas of the state where Green candidates exceeded 5% of the vote in 2010. Four congressional candidates and six legislative candidates reached that level, including Schmidt, whose 10,028 votes in the old 3rd Congressional District earned her just over 6% of the vote.

The Board’s argument is that since the old districts no longer exist due to decennial redistricting, the 5% rule does not apply in the new districts.

“Laurel’s situation demonstrates the absurdity of the Board’s position,” said Phil Huckelberry, Illinois Green Party Chair.

As an established party candidate, Schmidt would need to submit a petition in December with valid signatures from 600 registered voters in the district, and would then be on the March primary ballot. Non-established or “new” party candidates would have to file 5,000 signatures in June.

“The advantages for established party candidates are substantial,” said Huckelberry. “Forums and debates are often set up by June, and a number of organizations will have already issued endorsements based on who is already on the ballot.”

Schmidt is running for the second time against Dan Lipinski, a relatively unpopular Democrat who was the latest recipient of what Huckelberry called “Mike Madigan’s sugarplum gerrymandering.” Schmidt’s own residence was drawn mere blocks outside of the district, but she is prepared to move back across the line to serve the district in Congress.

“I’ve been an active member of this community for 27 years. Dan Lipinski moved into Illinois and the district after he was handed a spot on the ballot that his dad had won in the primary. Now, every rule and every line are bent in Dan Lipinski’s favor,” said Schmidt, who labeled Lipinski as a “socially conservative, blue dog hawk.”

“The people of the 3rd District deserve a choice. As the first Green in Congress I will work for and be a voice for peace, people, and planet over short-term profits. The two-party system and its control by corporate cash is destroying the 99% – that’s us.”

Schmidt is not the only candidate who will be affected by the ruling, said Huckelberry. “We have interested people who are looking for some resolution on this issue before jumping in.”

Illinois Green Party:
Laurel Lambert Schmidt for Congress:

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Governor Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill to Outlaw Paying Registration Workers on a Per-Card Basis

October 10, 2011 in Ballot Access, State Party News

Ballot Access News (excerpt):

On October 7, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 205, which made it a crime to pay registration workers on a per-registration card basis. Because Proposition 14 has left California minor parties with only one means to remain on the ballot, by having registration equal to 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, this veto will help minor parties. The Green, Libertarian, and Peace & Freedom Parties had asked that the bill not be signed. The veto message says, “Voting is at the heart of our democracy. Efforts to register voters should be encouraged, not criminalized.”

Brown also acted on four other election law bills. He signed SB 397, which makes it possible for voters to register to vote on-line.

Green Party banned in Ohio!

August 29, 2011 in Ballot Access

In a message posted at the Ohio Green Party website, Bob Fitrakis explains that the Ohio Secretary of State John Husted has interpreted a new Ohio law to mean that the Green Party no longer has a right to do battle in the voting booth.

In an August 5, 2011 letter written to the Libertarian Party of Ohio, Husted made it clear that his interpretation of the draconian Ohio House Bill 194, passed by the Republican-dominated legislature, means that all minor parties have lost their official statewide party status effective September 30, 2011.