For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, the North Carolina Green Party will present over 10,000 petition signatures to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The petition, which states that the signatories agree to allow the Green Party to be recognized in North Carolina as a ballot-qualified political party, is still far short of the 89,366 verified signatures required by law.
“Eighty-nine thousand signatures is the equivalent of getting every man, woman, and child in the city of Asheville, North Carolina, to sign our petition,” said Wayne Turner, a co-chair of the North Carolina Green Party. “Why should any party or independent candidate need to gather that many signatures just to run for office? These signatures were gathered with enormous effort on the part of dozens of people, including paid contractors,” said Turner. “But it seems the opinions of over 10,000 of North Carolina’s registered voters simply are not important to the state’s political leaders. Given that state and local elections are easily swayed by much smaller numbers of voters, one would think that 10,000 voters’ wishes would be heard in a democratic society.”
Many states, even conservative ones, have much lower requirements. In Florida, party recognition is dependent on filing prescribed paperwork with the Florida Division of Elections. In South Carolina, 10,000 signatures qualifies a party, and continued recognition depends on nominating candidates for federal, state, or local office at least once in every two general elections. In Wyoming, 3,400 signatures would suffice for party qualification, and an equal number of votes would retain party status. In Louisiana, the party pays a registration fee, submits a notarized registration statement, and registers 1,000 voters who identify with the party on their voter registration forms.
“This same process must be followed by independent candidates for statewide office as well,” said Jan Martell, ballot-access coordinator for the party. “Past court rulings have challenged this requirement for presidential candidates, but North Carolina remains staunchly opposed to political competition outside of the two-party system. We are pretty much the most restrictive state in the union when it comes to the number of signatures required.”
Dr. Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party nomination for president, said she was exploring litigation against North Carolina’s ballot-access laws. “Political leaders in North Carolina are denying local residents the most basic aspect of democracy—namely, the right to vote for the candidate of their choice. Our politicians send our military forces to die in foreign lands in an effort to impose the politicians’ version of democracy, but here at home they conspire to make sure the most basic element of democracy—the freedom to vote for a candidate of your choice—is suppressed.”