Press release from the national Green Party.
Greens urge quick action on Ohio, Pennsylvania election crimes, seek assurance of 2008 ballot access fairness and election integrity
â€¢ Pennsylvania: 12 indicted after Statehouse Democrats staffers were given taxpayer-funded bonuses to keep 2004 presidential candidate Ralph Nader (Ind.) and 2006 US Senate candidate Carl Romanelli (Green) off the state ballot
â€¢ Ohio: Evidence of massive fraud by GOP operatives in the 2004 election, with possible Karl Rove involvement; Greens were the first to probe the 2004 vote theft
WASHINGTON, DC â€” Green Party leaders urged swift and aggressive court action to ensure fair elections and enforcement of legal campaign practices in the wake of election scandals in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The Green Party, which nominated Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente for President and Vice President during the 2008 Green National Convention in Chicago on July 12, has a special interest in the integrity of the US election system. Greens are currently working to get the nominees on as many state ballots as possible, an effort rendered difficult by grossly biased and unfair ballot access rules designed by Democrats and Republicans to hinder other partiesâ€™ candidates and independents in many states.
â€¢ In the Pennsylvania scandal, twelve Democratic officials have been indicted for paying staffers big taxpayer-funded bonuses for their efforts to keep 2004 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and 2006 Green candidate Carl Romanelli, who ran for the US Senate, off the Pennsylvania ballot. The twelve charged with misusing $4 million for partisan campaign work include the former Pennsylvania House Majority Whip, the current House Majority Whip, and the Chief of Staff of the House Majority Leader.
Mr. Romanelliâ€™s lawyers are asking for a new hearing regarding the appeal of the $80,000 in legal costs that were assessed against him after Democratic Party lawyers succeeded in persuading a court to remove him from the 2006 ballot. Democrats have claimed that the Nader and Romanelli campaigns falsified signatures on their ballot petitions.
Mr. Romanelli was blocked from defending the validity of the signatures in 2006. Nader attorney Oliver Hall noted that â€œonly a tiny number of signatures on the Nader petitions â€” 687 or 1.3 percent of the total â€” were counted as â€˜forgeriesâ€™ by their signers, and in the words of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor, there is â€˜no evidenceâ€™ to support Democratsâ€™ claims that the Nader campaign was even aware of such signatures. Furthermore, no allegation of fraud was ever raised against Romanelliâ€™s petitions. There is, however, evidence that the Nader petitions were the target of widespread and deliberate sabotage: specifically, petition circulators discovered and removed about 7,000 obviously fake signatures prior to submitting the petitions.â€ (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20080717_Letters__One_Reader_s_View.html)
â€œWe support Carl Romanelliâ€™s request for the court to drop the $80,000 legal fee costs that were imposed on him. The assessment of these costs is unprecedented and meant to intimidate non-Democrat and non-Republican candidates from running for office,â€ said Holly Hart, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. â€œThe leveling of punitive and exorbitant costs for disqualified signatures is as outrageous as Pennsylvaniaâ€™s ballot access rule that requires 2,000 valid signatures from Democratic or Republican candidates for President and other top offices, while requiring over 67,000 signatures for candidates from other parties or independents to get on the ballot.â€
â€¢ The Ohio case involves the possible theft of the 2004 presidential election. Widespread evidence first collected by Greens showed that thousands of Ohio voters, especially African Americans and students, were either blocked from voting or their votes were uncounted or miscounted.
David Cobb, the Green Partyâ€™s 2004 presidential nominee, joined with Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik to investigate the complaints and demand a recount, after John Kerry quickly conceded the race to George W. Bush and his fellow Democrats took no action on the emerging scandal. Greens raised most of the money for legal and other fees for the Ohio recount. A commission called by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) later collected and published evidence of massive irregularities in the Ohio election and attempts to thwart the recount, much of it based on evidence collected by Mr. Cobb and Mr. Badnarik. In January, 2007, two Cuyahoga County election officials were convicted of manipulating the recount.
Green Party leaders called for an expanded investigation of the 2004 Ohio election fraud, expressing support for attorneys in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case who have filed a motion to â€œlift the stay in the case [and] proceed with targeted discovery in order to help protect the integrity of the 2008 election.â€
Greens said that the investigation should especially target evidence that GOP operatives tampered with computer voting machines and the roles of White House advisor Karl Rove and former Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in the alleged vote theft.
The Green Party endorses voter-verified paper ballots to provide an auditable record of votes cast on computer voting machines, as well as voting machine source codes that are designed to allow public inspection.
â€œVoters deserve to see the candidates they support on the ballot, and deserve to know that the votes they cast will be counted. Unless the full weight of the law comes down on those who try to manipulate elections, and until we repeal ballot access rules designed to rig the vote in favor or one or two political parties, weâ€™re in danger of seeing more damaged and stolen elections,â€ said David Cobb, the Green Partyâ€™s 2004 candidate for President of the United States.