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.