Richard Carroll, Green state representative, attempts to make debates fair

State representative Richard Carroll of North Little Rock, Arkansas – the Green Party’s only state legislator – has introduced legislation in an attempt to make debates for elected office more fair in Arkansas.  The bill, if passed, would require that any site that receives public funding hosting a debate between candidates for public office needs to include all candidates for that particular office.  According to the Associated Press,

A state judge in 2006 rejected an attempt to halt a gubernatorial debate between Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson after independent candidate Rod Bryan argued that he and Green Party nominee Jim Lendall should have been included in the debate.

10 thoughts on “Richard Carroll, Green state representative, attempts to make debates fair

  1. Trent Hill

    Arkansas actually has fairly easy ballot access laws, as does Utah. New York, Illinois, California–all progressive states–have terrible ballot access.

    But this works both ways. Texas and North Carolina have bad ballot access laws, but progressive states like Wisconsin and Oregon are relatively easy.

  2. Kimberly Wilder

    Yeah. This bill is a great idea. Something that third party people and independents from across the spectrum could get behind. Please get us the bill number and tell us more…

  3. Rebekah Kennedy

    Mr. Hill,

    The debates bill is HB1863.

    You are only half right about Arkansas ballot access laws. After many years of litigation, the Green Party and others have forced the state to lower the requirements for getting on the ballot to a relatively reasonable 10,000 signatures. That is in a state with only about a million registered voters and almost no walkable public space in our few modest population centers, but it is doable, even in the 60 day period we had last election. Thanks to HB1246 by Richard Carroll, that will be back up to 90 days, which is a little easier.

    The real problem in Arkansas is staying on the ballot. We have to get 3% of the votes for Governor and President every election. If we ever miss either one, we are off the ballot and have to start over as if we have never been on it. This means we have to petition, not once but almost every election. Even if we reach the point of consistently running at 3% for Governor, we will still have to petition every four years because even the third place finisher for President rarely reached 3%. By contrast, New York requires only 50,000 votes for governor (less than 1%) to stay on the ballot. California is 2% in any statewide race. Oregon requires only 1% of the U.S. House vote. Arkansas Greens achieved nearly 20% of the U.S. House vote in 2008, as well as over 20% for U.S. Senate, the only state wide race on our ballot last year.

    As a result, this year, after the most successful election cycle of any third party in Arkansas in over a century, we are looking at the absurd possibility of having our member of the state legislature spending his time and resources to petition to be allowed to run for reelection while all of the other legislators are able to put their resources directly into campaigning.

    HB 1247 would change that by allowing a Party to stay on the ballot as long as they can consistently get 3% of the vote in any state wide race.

  4. Trent Hill

    Ms. Kennedy,

    My comments were aimed simply at getting “on the ballot”–it is far easier to get on the ballot in Arkansas as an Independent with a moniker than as a party,this is actually what I meant. Sorry for the confusion.

    As a matter of interest, do you have any intention of running for another office soon, Ms. Kennedy?

  5. Richard Winger

    I don’t agree that Arkansas ballot access laws are easy, except they are easy for president. For president Arkansas only requires 1,000 signatures, for both independents and minor parties. That is very good. But it isn’t so good for other office. Arkansas is the only state in the nation in which no Libertarian Party nominee has ever been on the general election ballot for office (other than president). 10,000 signatures is not easy in a state with only 4 US House districts. No one has ever done the 10,000 petition except for the Reform Party in 1996, and the Green Party in 2006 and again in 2008. Only 3 times has a minor party done that petition, which tells me it is difficult. And only two statewide independents have done the 10,000 petition either, one in 2006 and one decades ago.

  6. citizen1

    I tried to find the law amended by this bill but could not and I do not know Arkansas write-in laws. Will this apply to only ballot listed candidates?

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