New Petition: Invite Candidates On the Ballot of 20 or More States To Participate in Open Debate

Joshua Fauver, a Green Party member and the co-founder of American Third Party Report, created the following Change.org petition today:

The mantra, indeed the motto, of the Free and Equal Election Foundation is “More Voices, More Choices.” In the interest in living up to that high creed we (the list signatories of this petition) would like to request that the Free and Equal Election Foundation set the criteria for receiving invitation to their Open Presidential Debate at the United We Stand Fest on October the 25th in Boulder, Colorado.

We understand that not every presidential candidate running in 2015 can participate in a presidential debate. We understand that their must be some form of criteria that will limit the number of presidential candidates who will be allowed to participate in the debate. But, again, the mantra of the Free and Equal Election Foundation is “More voices, More Choices.” It is in that spirit, with that high calling in mind, that we express that we would not like the debate to unduly limit the amount of candidates who are able to participate. As Green Party nominee Jill Stein so frequently says “The right to vote means very little if you don’t have the right to know who you’re voting for.”

We would like to propose that the methodology used for determining who will be invited to the Open Debate on October 25, 2016 in Boulder be very simple; all candidates on the ballot in 20 or more states be invited to participate in the debate. Using this criteria four presidential candidates would receive an invitation, the same number of candidates who were invited to participate in the 2012 Open Debate in Chicago, Illinois. Those candidates would be Libertarian Party nominee Gov. Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein, Constitution Party nominee Darrell Castle, and Reform Party nominee Roque De La Fuente.

As we saw in the 2012 Open Debate, four presidential candidates is not so many candidates so as to make the presidential debate dysfunctional. Some might argue that it is the perfect amount, as it allows for the left, center left, center right, and the right to be represented in debate. By using the criteria of being on the ballot of 20 or more states, and inviting the four candidates that meet the criteria, Free and Equal is able to truly give the public “More Voices, More Choices.” It allows voters to hear from more candidates, to hear more ideas, to hear more solutions, and for us to have a very healthy and very needed conversation about the issues facing this nation.

We ask that the Free and Equal Election Foundation use this, being on the ballot of 20 or more states, as the criteria for determining who will be invited to the Open Debate at the United We Stand Fest in Boulder, Colorado on October 25, 2016.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Christina Tobin
  • Free and Equal Election Foundation
  • United We Stand Fest

12 thoughts on “New Petition: Invite Candidates On the Ballot of 20 or More States To Participate in Open Debate

  1. Mr. Brown

    Is De La Fuente on in 20 states? Which 20? I found a listing on Chris Powell’s blog linked from Ballot Access News which had him on for exactly 20, yet it included Alabama and Arkansas, which have both currently blocked De La Fuente from the ballot on misapplication of “sore loser” laws. He is suing to get back on, but the ballots may have already been printed without him.

    Why 20 states? Seems arbitrary. Why not 25 states or 15 states or 270 electoral votes?

    I see Castle and Stein as right wing and left wing respectively, but between Johnson and De La Fuente which one is “center left” and which one is “center right” and why?

  2. Mr. Brown

    Took a second to read a few comments on the petition at change.org; it seems some, and probably most, signers are confused and did not read the whole petition. They seem to be under the impression that they signed a petition for the CPD to include Johnson and Stein along with Clinton and Trump, rather than in fact a petition for Free and Equal to include Castle and De La Fuente along with Johnson and Stein.

  3. Be Rational

    The best back-up plan for Johnson and Stein is to debate each other, but no one else. They should quickly find a location and hold their debate immedaitely following the CPD debate. They can have the same questions posed to them with time to answer, this can be livestreamed so everyone on the Internet has a chance to watch and look for coverage from as many networks and stations as possible.

    If Johnson tries to respond alone, it wont be as effective. But no POTUS candidate besides Johnson and Stein is in the same ballpark.

    Take this as an opportunity.
    Fight back against the CPD and the duopoly.
    Smash the “two-party” system.

  4. Thomas Knapp

    “If Johnson tries to respond alone, it wont be as effective.”

    Whether or not something is effective is a function of what one is trying to accomplish with it.

    If the goal is to put a compelling message in front of as many Americans as possible in a setting where it is contrasted with other messages, you’re exactly right.

    If the goal is to continue posturing as “the only credible alternative to the major parties.” not so much.

    Those are not the only two alternatives, of course. A third would be to take the money spend on debate venue, debate filming, etc. and spend it on broadcast network TV advertising. And there are others.

  5. Be Rational

    “If Johnson tries to respond alone, it wont be as effective.” BR
    *
    “Whether or not something is effective is a function of what one is trying to accomplish with it.” TK
    *
    Agreed.

    **********

    “If the goal is to put a compelling message in front of as many Americans as possible in a setting where it is contrasted with other messages, you’re exactly right.” TK
    *
    “If the goal is to continue posturing as ‘the only credible alternative to the major parties.’ not so much.” TK
    *
    It’s hard to posture as the only alternative when no one sees you posturing. It would be better to appear with Stein, but ignore her as much as possible, only replying to the answers given by Trump and Clinton. In fact, she might agree to handle the event that way. Then, GJ could continue to be the “only alternative” – although he wouldn’t be able to state so explicitly during the follow-up debate.

    ***********

    “Those are not the only two alternatives, of course. A third would be to take the money spend on debate venue, debate filming, etc. and spend it on broadcast network TV advertising. And there are others.”

    Yes. Spending it all on targeted broadcast network TV is an alternative. It may be the best alternative if the immediate, follow-up debate isn’t possible.

    However, a immediate debate following the CPD debate with the two excluded candidates has some immediacy, urgency, shows the intent to fight back, the intent to win, and could get a lot of free broadcast time and news coverage as a legitimate campaign news event – especially if it includes both Johnson and Stein.

  6. Joshua

    I have Rocky as being on the ballot in 21 states. Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Unless I’m missing something.

  7. Just Some Random Guy

    As polls, while generally accurate, are still prone to error, I support a more objective way of determining inclusion in the debates, and requiring some number of states would make sense. However, 20 states is a random number. There are really only two possible requirements that are anything but arbitrary:
    1) Be on enough states to, if you won every single one of those states, could win the majority of the electoral college.
    OR
    2) Be on the ballot in every state.

    I’d be in favor of #1 because #2 just encourages the ballot laws to become more ridiculous to thwart third parties (granted, #1 does that also, but #2 means missing even one state pushes you out), but those are the only non-arbitrary requirements I can see in regards to this.

    Not that the Republican and Democrat-controlled CPD are likely to care about any of this, though.

  8. Mr. Brown

    “I have Rocky as being on the ballot in 21 states. Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Unless I’m missing something.”

    Your list adds up to 20, at least the two times I counted. According to https://medium.com/@Chris_Powell/who-is-on-the-presidential-ballot-where-5d0d084dc498#.ajugg0pwo Rocky is not on in NM. However, he has him on in Alabama and Arkansas, and that will only be true if Rocky wins court cases in time for injunctive relief.

    However, http://www.thegreenpapers.com/G16/President-Details.phtml has him on in a small number of additional states.

  9. Bondurant

    The 20 state minimum is too arbitrary. Why not simply call for all candidates on the ballot in enough states to obtain the necessary electoral votes to be included?

  10. Darcy G Richardson

    According to the Secretary of State’s website, Rocky’s American Delta Party is on the ballot in New Mexico.

  11. Tony From Long Island

    The guy who wrote this really didn’t think it out. Let’s say a candidate makes the ballot in the following 20 states:

    Alaska – 3 EV
    Delaware – 3
    Hawaii – 4
    Idaho – 3
    Iowa – 6
    Kansas – 6
    Maine – 4
    Montana – 3
    Mississippi – 6
    Nebraska – 4
    Nevada – 5
    New Hampshire – 4
    New Mexico – 5
    North Dakota – 3
    Oregon – 6
    Rhode Island – 4
    South Dakota – 3
    Vermont – 3
    West Virginia – 5
    Wyoming – 3

    That mystery candidate could earn a whopping 84 electoral votes. I am BIG on allowing more candidates in at least ONE debate with the two major parties, but 20 states alone should not be the criteria. Enough Electoral Votes to win could be.

    If they base it on state ballots, Republicans in many states would just make it much harder to get on the ballots!

  12. Jim F

    It would be a shame not to invite Gloria La Riva. In a year where it has been proven that “Socialist” is no longer a scary word, to deny access to the nominee that has had more access of a candidate with the word Socialist or Communist in their name than anyone in like 100 years.

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