Green Party considers online elections

Sponsored by the Green Party of Colorado,, Resolution 383 would provide for the election of party co-chairs by an online voting system during the annual national meeting. The resolution has been seen by some as a possible disincentive to attend the annual meeting in person, which may help explain the current 35 to 33 vote, with 7 abstentions. Votes have been cast by 33 states and/or caucuses, with one more state or caucus needed to meet the quorum requirement. To pass the resolution would need support from 2/3 of those voting, so it would seem that this one will not pass.

12 thoughts on “Green Party considers online elections

  1. Ross Levin

    Interesting. I think I would support this if I even had the choice because it would make it possible for anyone to vote who couldn’t afford to go to the convention, or couldn’t go for some other reason.

  2. Steven R Linnabary

    While the proposal MAY make certain votes more democratic, there are other reasons to have a physical meeting.

    There is also the bonding experience that comes from meeting hundreds of people that think as you do. Indeed, they may think in such a way as to take your own ability to debate to a higher level!

    My own experience at national conventions has always been an inspiration. One that would have been impossible without the interaction of similar minded individuals.


  3. Thomas L. Knapp


    I agree — meetings and other types of “meatspace” get-togethers are valuable in various ways and for various reasons. I encourage people to attend that type of thing whenever possible.

    On the other hand, there are any number of cases in which a person might add value to the narrow “doing of party business” but in which his or her time and money is otherwise better spent on things other than traveling to a distant city and staying in a hotel for several days to do that business.

    For example, Memorial Day and the 4th of July in election years (the weekends when the LP usually holds its national conventions) are also prime campaign times for congressional candidates. I’d rather those candidates be able to march in parades, shake babies and kiss hands in their districts, AND participate in doing the party’s business, than have to choose one or the other.

  4. Ross Levin

    Why not have votes in person and online at the same time, to accommodate both situations?

  5. Gregg Jocoy


    I should have made it clearer. The proposal does exactly as you suggest. Those in attendance would vote in person, those delegates not able to be there in person would vote via Internet.

    Personally I would like to see the Green Party move to a system of regional conventions linked together via teleconference, at least for plenary sessions.

    Part of the problem is that pretty much only those who can afford to self-finance get to go, meaning that our lower income members must be represented by our better heeled friends. We also meet every year, which to me seems excessive.

    That said, I have never attended a national meeting, so the benefits, while not lost on me, have not been seen in-person. This year’s convention will be held in Durham, NC, close enough for me to drive. This will be my first gathering, after 9 years of active membership. I know that there are many other Greens who have also never attended a national meeting because of the cost.

  6. Gregg Jocoy


    I agree 100% with the sentiment that candidates are not best served by being at an internal event. In fact, that reality could help determine a better date. For example, little campaign work is ongoing in say, January or February, so those months might be a good choice.

    Another benefit, it seems to me, would be that our elected officials might be more inclined to attend if the meeting did not conflict with their re-election bids.

    I’m hard pressed to think of any group the Green Party needs to hear and heed than those of us who have won public office. Our electeds seem to be some of our smartest and most focused members, and could teach folks like me a lot.

  7. Kimberly Wilder

    I enjoyed the comments of Steven R Linnabary above, because they pointed to the real, underlying struggle.

    Many people have suggested that the GP-US should NOT hold a meeting this year. Because the meetings always lose money and the party is in debt. Also, since it is an off year – not even a Congressional election year, and the presidential is 3 years away, it is not so necessary for the national party to meet.

    But, the clique that runs the party likes to have their gathering. The registration fees from the regular folk pay for Steering Committees travel to get their and show off. And, the usual operatives will swoop in from their think tanks to get odd jobs, resume builders, or a chance to preach their spiel. They do not want to give that up.

    So, while the issue might appear to be: Should voting on line be allowed, what is really happening is the clique are trying to STOP on-line voting, and blackmail people and force them to show up at this meeting.


    Neat trick.

    What should probably happen, in an ideal world, is people decide if it is democratic and doable to have an on-line vote. And, if it is, vote YES. But, check out the NO votes. There are a lot of folks who profit literally and figuratively from having an in person meeting.

    former Green Party member

  8. Kimberly Wilder

    P.S. One of the schmaltzy, mind control games over at GP-US, is that they make netiquette rules and manners (which are good for social clubs, but not political parties) that include elements to control the dialogue.

    One element is often “no ascribing motives to people.” It is a principle of non-violent communication.

    But, when you are in politics, figuring out people’s motives is often helpful.

    So, glad I don’t have to follow netiquette anymore.


  9. Green Ferret

    Actually, “assume good faith” is a rule of internet communication everywhere, not just among groups that are trying to use non-violent communication. While the rule is not tailored for political party work, it is essential.

    An example: the 2004 Green convention was split between the camp that wanted to run an all-out 50 states campaign, and the group pushing for a safe-states strategy. The two sides backed their respective candidates, and neither won in the end. But hostilities still remained (still remain, I should add), because some people refused to accept that one could both support a safe-states strategy and have the good of the party at heart.

    The point is that the difference over strategy was not that important, compared to the massive distrust generated by the feeling that many were not acting in good faith. Judging by the internal divisions I’ve seen in the GP thus far, I think that the “ascribing motives” problem is widespread and accounts for many of the issues that keep Greens bickering and unable to focus on the real competition.

  10. Joyce McCloy

    Has the Green Party consulted with computer scientists about this idea? Internet voting is extremely hackable, and the only way you could check the count is to give up the secret ballot.

    Please read this report: Computer Technologists’ statement on internet voting

    September 11th, 2008

    Because of the increasing frequency of proposals to allow remote voting over the internet, we believe it is necessary to warn policymakers and the public that secure internet voting is a very hard technical problem, and that we should proceed with internet voting schemes only after thorough consideration of the technical and non-technical issues in doing so. Please read our statement, and, if you are a “computer expert”, consider endorsing it.

    Computer Technologists’ Statement on Internet Voting

    Election results must be verifiably accurate — that is, auditable with a permanent, voter-verified record that is independent of hardware or software. Several serious, potentially insurmountable, technical challenges must be met if elections conducted by transmitting votes over the internet are to be verifiable. There are also many less technical questions about internet voting, including whether voters have equal access to internet technology and whether ballot secrecy can be adequately preserved.

    Internet voting should only be adopted after these technical challenges have been overcome, and after extensive and fully informed public discussion of the technical and non-technical issues has established that the people of the U.S. are comfortable embracing this radically new form of voting.

    A partial list of technical challenges includes:

    • The voting system as a whole must be verifiably accurate in spite of the fact that client systems can never be guaranteed to be free of malicious logic. Malicious software, firmware, or hardware could change, fabricate, or delete votes, deceive the user in myriad ways including modifying the ballot presentation, leak information about votes to enable voter coercion, prevent or discourage voting, or perform online electioneering. Existing methods to “lock-down” systems have often been flawed; even if perfect, there is no guaranteed method for preventing or detecting attacks by insiders such as the designers of the system.

    ….more at the link

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