Ralph Nader will fire up the Greens with a charged speech on the need for ballot access reform at the 2007 Green Party of US National Convention to be held on July 11 – 15 in Reading, PA. The biggest issue that faces the Greens and all third parties is Ballot Access, without which third parties cannot even make a reservation, let alone sit at the table.
Qualifying for the ballot has not always been difficult. However, since the 30’s each state has set increasingly difficult legislative hurdles to being named on a ballot, presumably in order to control the number of… shall we say…unqualified candidates.
Greens criticize election law and the court-ordered fines as in Pennsylvania, calling them a bipartisan ploy to intimidate and discourage third party and independent candidacies from running. Pennsylvania requires more than 67,000 signatures to qualify as a third party Presidential candidate compared to the 2,000 signatures required by Dems and Republicans. Additionally, hefty fines, surpassing $90,000 have been placed on these third parties for “failing to qualify”. These targeted lawsuits and penalties stifle the growth of alternative parties, contrary to the intentions of the founding fathers.
Despite the fear of being called “spoiler”, the Greens (as well as the Libertarians) would like to win 5 per cent of the federal vote for President. This small percentage guarantees a reservation at the table four years down the road, paid for, in part by the federal government in matching funds. It also helps substantiate regional candidates in local elections, according to Brent McMillan, Campaign Director for the GPUS.
Perhaps the most current news of ballot access nationwide would be at Richard Winger’s website: ballot-access.org. Every current thing there is to be known about ballot access on the web is here.
throughout the country including a favorable verdict in the case of Libertarian and Green Parties joint lawsuit against the state of Iowa. Their win succeeded in dropping the required number of signatures to a mere 845. Stand by to see some more surprising fellowships between the Greens and Libertarians in other states.
On another election reform front, Minnesota is setting up a system out of which to test and grow IRV (Instant Rank Voting) in communities. The general theory of IRV is that with it, people can vote for their favorite candidate without creating the undesired effect of throwing their vote away if their candidate does not make the runoff; instead, the vote is adjusted to the second choice. It sounds complicated but seven year old kids are doing it at schools all the time. San Francisco threw itself into the path of IRV first in 1995, taking quite a bruising along the way, but also breaking new ground, which is helpful.