Greens Win Ballot Access in 31 States, Up From 17 in January
Green Party of the United States
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greens win ballot access fights in Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, New York
Greens achieve ballot access in 31 states -- up from 17 states in January
'Grossly unfair' ballot access rules hinder Greens in Pennsylvania
Many Green candidates now face obstruction from debates in California, Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party candidates have overcome numerous obstacles to have their names placed on the ballot in several states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and New York. In many races, Greens are now battling exclusion from candidates' debates.
In Pennsylvania, Greens have faced the most dramatic obstruction, as a result of patently unfair ballot access rules (2,000 petition signatures required for Democrats and Republicans; 67,000 for other parties) and a lawsuit filed by Democrats seeking to disqualify many of the 95,000 signatures submitted by Marakay Rogers (running for Governor <http://www.geocities.com/mjr91/RogersforAG.html>), Christina Valente (for Lieutenant Governor <http://www.christina-green.org>), and Carl Romanelli (for U.S. Senate <http://www.romanelli2006.com>). Because defending their petitions would cost tens of thousands of dollars and the candidates risk being bankrupted by a judgment for the challengers' attorneys' fees and costs, Ms. Rogers and Ms. Valente have withdrawn their petitions; Mr. Romanelli has vowed to fight the challenge and is now protesting his exclusion from a September 3 senatorial candidates' debate to be broadcast on MSNBC's 'Meet the Press.'
"Pennsylvania's grossly unfair ballot access laws, passed by Democrats and Republicans, should be considered a conspiracy against voters, limiting their choices on the ballot. Equally outrageous are the tactics that Pennsylvania Democrats are using to bar Greens, through legal and financial intimidation -- proving that Democratic politicians are just as willing as Republicans to rig the ballot box," said Marakay Rogers.
The Green Party currently has 31 state ballot lines (including the District of Columbia). In January, 2006, the Green Party had 17 state ballot lines.
Secretary of State Charlie Daniels certified the Green Party as a recognized political party in Arkansas after an August 23, 2006 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas ordered the inclusion of Greens. Arkansas Greens have nominated six candidates for statewide races, including Jim Lendall, former Democratic State Representative, for Governor. The nominees must file their certificates of nomination with the Secretary of State's office by September 8 to appear on the November ballot.
Gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo is seeking inclusion despite the League of Women Voters decision to restrict the debates to candidates who receive over 10% in the polls. When Mr. Camejo participated in a televised debate in the 2003 election, he was widely perceived as the winner, according to informal polls of media outlets and viewers. The Camejo campaign has filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission.
The Illinois State Board of Elections ruled unanimously on August 31 to place the Green Party state slate in the November general election, after a vigorous attempt by Illinois Democrats to have Green candidates' ballot petitions invalidated in order to keep them off the state ballot. Illinois Green candidates Rich Whitney, running for Governor, and Julie Samuels, for Lieutenant Governor, were certified on September 1.
Greens were required to to collect 25,000 signatures in just 90 days -- five times the number of signatures that Democratic and Republican candidates had to collect -- to qualify for the ballot. Greens collected over 39,000. Greens were then forced to hire a ballot defense coordinator and pay for legal services to defend their petitions after Illinois Democrats used their staffing and monetary advantage to challenge the petitions before the State Board. Greens are now attempting to persuade the Illinois Radio Network to reverse its decision excluding Mr. Whitney from its October 2 debate.
The Nebraska Green Party was initially denied ballot access for its statewide candidates by the Secretary of State. After several weeks of delay involving intense discussions with Greens, the ACLU and legislators, Greens were granted ballot access for statewide constitutional offices, with Green candidates Steve Larrick for State Auditor and Doug Paterson for Secretary of State on the ballot on November 7.
On August 22, Malachy McCourt, candidate for Governor, and other New York Green candidates delivered petitions to the Board of Elections in Albany to place them on the November 7 ballot. The campaigns submitted 30,000 signatures, double the required 15,000 needed -- demonstrating that voters want a choice when they go to the polls, a choice that includes candidates who support peace, abolition of the death penalty, bringing home the New York National Guard, and health care for all. The members of the Green Party's New York Peace Slate include Mr. McCourt for Governor; Alison Duncan for Lt. Governor; Howie Hawkins for U.S. Senate; Attorney General candidate Rachel Treichler; and State Comptroller candidate Julia Willebrand.
The party must achieve 50,000 votes in the Governor's race to regain automatic ballot status. New York Greens fell slightly short of the 50,000 votes for Governor in 2002 to maintain ballot status, although Attorney General candidate Mary Jo Long exceeded the 50,000. New York Green ballot-qualified candidates are currently negotiating with the League of Women Voters of New York for inclusion in debates for the offices of U.S. Senator from New York, Governor,and Attorney General.
Green gubernatorial candidate Bob Fitrakis has joined a Libertarian and a write-in to fight their exclusion from four debates, from which the Democrats and Republicans are barring all other candidates. Mr. Fitrakis and the other two candidates will be in Youngstown on September 5 for the first of the debates, and are also planning to hold their own debates in Toledo, Dayton, and Akron (which Democrats and Republicans have omitted from the debate schedule). Mr. Fitrakis will invite the Democrats and Republicans to attend the 'third party' debates, which will be co-sponsored by Common Cause.
Wisconsin Greens are protesting a decision by the We the People consortium (Wisconsin State Journal, WISC-TV, Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, Wood Communications, WisPolitics.com, along with corporate and interest group sponsors) to bar third party candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Nelson Eisman, from candidates' debates according to arbitrary poll-based and fundraising criteria. The League of Women Voters (which sponsored debates in years past), the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin have joined Greens in the call for Mr. Eisman's inclusion.
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