Maine Green Party Will Have no Candidate for Governor

Reposted from Ballot Access News:

On March 15, Lynne Williams announced that her petition drive to get on the Green Party’s primary ballot for Governor will not succeed. See this story. Although the Green Party is ballot-qualified in Maine, it still has ballot access problems. That is because Maine is one of three states that makes it very difficult for members of a small ballot-qualified party to get on their own party’s primary ballot.

Maine requires 2,000 signatures for a candidate to get on a primary ballot for statewide office. The law does not take into consideration the number of registrants in that party. So, Republicans need 2,000 signatures but can get those signatures from the 258,147 registered Republicans. Democrats need 2,000 signatures but can get them from the 310,950 registered Democrats. Greens need 2,000 signatures but can only get them from the 27,354 registered Greens (these registration totals are from November 2008).

Generally, states that require signatures for a candidate to get on a primary ballot, and which require that the candidate can only get signatures from members of his or her party, at least are rational enough to make the requirement either very easy, or a percentage of the number of eligible signers. The Maine law could probably be overturned in court, if the Maine Green Party were to sue. Storer v Brown, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1974, said that ballot access requirements are unconstitutional if they require the signatures of substantially more than 5% of the eligible signers.

Fortunately for the Maine Green Party, the law on how a party retains its spot on the ballot no longer requires a party to poll any particular share of the vote in November. Instead, a party retains its status if it has at least 10,000 registered members who actually vote in November (it doesn’t matter whom they vote for, just that they show up at the polls and cast a ballot).

It would theoretically be possible for Lynne Williams to be the Green Party nominee for Governor if she were to poll at least 4,000 write-ins at the June 10 Green Party primary. However, Williams is not interested in pursuing that path. The party will concentrate on campaigning for its legislative nominees.

In the past, the party has run strong candidates for governor, like Lynne Williams herself and Pat LaMarche.  The party has never before received less than five percent of the gubernatorial vote, but, as Richard Winger pointed out in his Ballot Access News post, due to ballot access law changes that is less significant than it was in the past.

The article Winger cites also says this:

Williams, a Bar Harbor attorney, also blamed changes to the state’s Clean Election Law for dooming her candidacy, particularly one that increased to $40,000 the amount of contributions publicly-funded candidates must raise to tap into the Clean Election fund. The money must be raised in individual $5 contributions.

18 thoughts on “Maine Green Party Will Have no Candidate for Governor

  1. .......... via Don Lake

    Even with vonder kin ‘Don’t Vote For Me’ verdant icon Patricia ‘Traitor to all non Democans and all non Republicrats’ LaMarshe ‘practicing’ journalism near by ???????????

  2. Green Party fan

    The positive Green Party news in this story is that in points out the overly difficult, and unreasonable hurdles to ballot access across the nation.

    This Green Party news also highlights what a gifted candidate for Governor Pat LaMarche was for the Green Independent Party of Maine.

    Thanks for the news.

  3. Green Party fan

    …other Green Party news…

    France had local elections last week, and the French Green Party continued to do very well..

    Green Party was strong third place

    The country’s green party, Europe Ecologie, consolidated its position as the third biggest bloc after scoring 13 percent, followed by the hard-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen with almost 12 percent.

    http://euobserver.com/843/29677

  4. Work on it folks .......... via Don Lake

    ” ………… news also highlights what a gifted candidate for Governor Pat LaMarche was for the Green Independent Party of Maine” ………and yet, still, six years after Cobb’s off the wall, agents provocateur hint of leaving Dems alone in ‘safe states’ statement, many, in and out of Green Land, HATE the Traitor from the Pine Tree State!

  5. d.eris

    “The party will concentrate on campaigning for its legislative nominees.”

    Given the crowded field for governor in Maine, this might make more sense anyway.

  6. Trent Hill

    d.eris

    Crowded in the primary, maybe, but in the general the Greens would almost definitely run third. With how LaMarche did last time, I feel like they’re really wasting a valuable opportunity here.

  7. Ross Levin Post author

    I don’t know about that, Trent. Personally, I think it could turn out to be a wise decision. For one, campaign finance was made a lot harder to qualify for so Williams wouldn’t have had that advantage. Also, like the Greens are saying, they’ll be able to focus more attention (and God knows their resources are limited) on more winnable local races. And there’s Eliot Cutler, an very well funded and seemingly well organized independent progressive running who might have taken away some of the Greens’ voters.

  8. Imperial

    Ross has some good points for the Maine race. I think the big thing to take from this story is that Maine’s ballot access laws are excessively complicated.

  9. Shawn Levasseur

    Actually, this is one reason why a 3rd party may NOT want ballot status.

    It’s much easier to get a candidate on the November ballot without it for minor parties. You need twice as many signatures, but you can get them from ANY registered voter, not just ones registered in your party.

    You have more time to get the signatures, and you bypass the primary and go straight to the November ballot.

    I wouldn’t say the ballot access laws are excessively complicated, just that there are trade offs when a small party gains ballot status.

    In my experience, Maine is probably a better state for 3rd parties and independants that most.

    Shawn L.
    -Rockland, Maine.

  10. d.eris

    It is too bad to have to give up on the effort, but Williams could have pushed for the primary write-in campaign. The fact that she didn’t makes it seem like there could be some strategic calculus behind the move. Greens across the country have been going back and forth on whether to focus on executive or legislative races this year. I’d personally rather see emphasis on races they could “almost definitely win.”

  11. Michael Cavlan RN

    Sigh

    Why even bother..

    Despite the feel nice, happy face, good ship lolly pop denial of the horific reality shown by some here (yes Green Party Fan, I mean you) it’s over.

    Buh Bye Green Party. You were a noble experiment but fell on the sword of “lesser evilism” “safe states” “Pat don’t vote for me LaMarche” “only run small local races that do not threaten or make the Democrats angry” kind of thinking. We tried to warn you. Hell all of us “dissidents” told you all that this would happen.

    Oh well, carry on

    Building and organizing a real, honest, unafraid oppposition to the rotten, corporate corrupted, pro-war two party system. Like we really mean it.

  12. The Last Conservative

    Kavlan, I’m looking forward to how depressed you’ll continue to be as your new progressive party fails. However, I give you a lot of credit for your hilarious takedown of the eternal optimist, Green Party Fan.

  13. VAGreen

    “Buh Bye Green Party. You were a noble experiment but fell on the sword of “lesser evilism” “safe states” “Pat don’t vote for me LaMarche” “only run small local races that do not threaten or make the Democrats angry” kind of thinking. We tried to warn you. Hell all of us “dissidents” told you all that this would happen.”

    Yawn. The National Party repudiated “safe states” in 2007, but your little faction insisted on falsely attacking them as Demo-Greens anyway. Pat LaMarche got ballot status for the Green Party twice (in 1998 and 2006), which is far more than can be said for ANY of the crowd that is still attacking her more than five years after then 2004 election.

    As for Maine, they are running 18 candidates for state legislature. Lynne Williams could have gotten on the ballot if all she needed was 2,000 signatures from all registered voters in Maine, but she needed 2,000 signatures from registered Greens (a much smaller pool of voters).

    Attacking the Greens is what you do because you can’t build your own party.

  14. Sam

    As a registered Green who was never asked for his signature, his opinion, or a donation, I’m not surprised Williams didn’t get on the ballot. We’ll never make headway if we don’t ask the party faithful.

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