Howie Hawkins, Others Respond to Rob Sherman On Illinois Ballot Access Challenges

In response to arguments made by Rob Sherman, the Cook County, Illinois Green Party Chair who has challenged other alternative parties seeking a place on the ballot, prominent New York Green and 2010 Gubernatorial Candidate Howie Hawkins has the following in Ballot Access News comments:

My appeal to Mr. Sherman to withdraw his objections:

Dear Mr. Sherman,

I urge you to withdraw your challenges to the ballot access petitions of four presidential candidates.

I write this as someone who joined the Socialist Party USA when it reformed in 1973 and has been active in the Green Party since our first national organizing meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota in august 1984. I was also involved in the Peace and Freedom registration drive for party status and ballot access in 1967-68 in California, in the People’s Party presidential campaign of Ben Spock and Julius Hobson in 1972, and the Citizens Party presidential campaign of Barry Commoner and LaDonna Harris in 1980.

I know how hard it is to get on the ballot. I’ve petitioned successfully 17 of 19 attempts for myself and petitioned countless times for other Green candidates, with mixed success because of major party challenges or state official malfeasance. I have been challenged on my own petitions by the Democrats almost every time, most of them utterly frivolous challenges that served only to force me to devote limited time and resources to defend my petition instead of campaign for the office.

I appreciate the hard work that the Illinois Green Party put into petition to put the Green Party presidential ticket on the Illinois ballot. As you know, I was the vice-presidential candidate on the petition as a stand-in until our presidential nominee chooses a running mate. I congratulate you on a job well done.

Nonetheless, I believe Greens should support the ability of all candidates to be on the ballot. Let the voters decide!

Greens should not use the restrictive ballot access rules to eliminate candidates. Those rules were written by the two corporate parties to exclude alternatives. Greens should be in solidarity with other parties on reforming ballot access laws, not acting like the Democrats and Republicans do to exclude them.

Also keep in mind that ballot access challenges are a double-edged sword. The Greens are working very hard to get on the ballot in many states this year where the requirements are very onerous. If one of our members challenge other parties in Illinois, we cannot credibly object if one of them challenges a Green petition in another state.

It would be a self-inflicted defeat if progressive independents allow rules written by the corporate parties to exclude all of us end up dividing and conquering us. I suggest that a better approach is that we support each others’ ballot access this year and work in the future toward an electoral united front against the corporate two-party-system.

The most important divide politically today is not between progressive third parties, but between all of them and the corporate rulers. Once we break open ballot access and replace the winner-take-all two-corporate-party system of rule with proportional representation for full representation and democracy, then the various strands of independent progressive politics can run their own slates, win their own proportionate shares of legislative representation, the can debate, negotiate, and legislate policies during their term in office.

But today we need solidarity against the corporate parties’ attempts to silence us. To restricting ballot access, we must add the Citizens United repeal of the Tilden Act ban on corporate campaign spending, preventive detention of organizers before demonstrations, the war on whistlelbowers using the Espionage Act, the federal coordination of the suppression of Occupy, warrantless surveillance of all our phone calls and emails by the National Security Agency, and many other bipartisan assaults to our political freedoms and constitutional rights.

We need unity in the fight to for our freedoms. I want the Greens to set a positive example in this respect.

Please withdraw your petition objections.

Sincerely,

Howie Hawkins, Syracuse, New York, delegate to the Green National Committee

Additional arguments from others against Mr. Sherman’s position include:

Richard Winger:

When Jesse Ventura was the Reform Party nominee for Governor of Minnesota, there were 8 candidates on the November ballot. But Ventura still won.

And:

[T]he rules are illegitimate. Illinois didn’t require any signatures for any party to appear on the ballot during the period 1927-1931. In 1931 the legislature ended that policy and put into effect the current system. A new party must submit hundreds of thousands of signatures if it wants to run for all levels of office in Illinois. Separate petitions for each US House candidate amount to 5% of the last vote cast alone mounts up to hundreds of thousands of signatures.

Furthermore, chances are the Greens didn’t have 25,000 valid signatures either this year. They submitted about 29,000.

Veronica Nowakowski:

The rules are that you can file and if no one challenges you’re on the ballot. All 6 candidates followed the rules, though two of them did it in different ways. One of the huge hurdles is that you cannot fulfill the actual petitioning requirement unless you have tons of money to hire paid petitioners. Given that they will lie what it is for half the time, it is essentially a financial requirement, not a support requirement.

[…]

You’re making excuses to justify such an action. You’re making large assumptions as to whether the other candidates are frivolous or not.

Richard Winger:

the Constitution Party presidential candidate is not frivolous. He was elected to Congress in every election 1996 through 2006. He has far more experience in government than Jill Stein does.

In 2008, the Constitution Party presidential candidate polled more votes than the Green Party presidential candidate in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In the nation as a whole, the Constitution Party outpolled the Green Party for president.

Virgil Goode has been at 6% in some Virginia polls recently. I doubt Jill Stein has that much support in any state.

Curt Boyd:

Rocky Anderson was also elected Mayor of Salt Lake City for two terms, and has more political experience than Jill Stein.

Casual Bystander:

It seems to me that frivolous is in the eye of the beholder. I would be very careful about who gets to decide who is frivolous. That path leads in a bad direction.

Art:

Considering that Socialists have helped get the Greens on the ballot in Illinois and many other states (Howie Hawkins, Socialist Party member and Green candidate in NY) Mr. Sherman should withdraw his objections to ALL the parties at once.

Common Tater:

Greens who disagree should put pressure on him to withdraw his challenge.

Ironic that a Green is challenging those other parties when it is highly unlikely his own party had enough VALID signatures of voters.

Also ironic that COFOE’s meeting is at the Green Party National Convention in a few days.

Previous BAN post:

Annual Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) Meeting

The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) will hold its annual board meeting on July 15, Sunday, in Baltimore, at the Inner Harbor Holiday Inn, 301 W. Lombard Street, at noon. The meeting will be in the Harbor 2 Room. The Green Party is kindly making this room available to COFOE. The national convention of the Green Party will meet on the day before, Saturday, July 14, to choose a presidential and vice-presidential nominee, in the Chesapeake Ballroom of the same hotel. Then, on Sunday morning, the national committee of the Green Party will meet at 9 a.m. in the Harbor 2 Room, but that meeting is expected to be finished by noon, making the space available for the COFOE meeting.

COFOE was formed in 1985, and is a loose coalition of most of the nation’s nationally-organized parties, other than the two major parties. Also included are organizations that are interested in the legal problems of political parties and independent candidates. The COFOE board currently includes representatives from the Conservative Party, the Constitution Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Reform Party, the Socialist Party, the Working Families Party, Free & Equal, and the Committee for a Unified Independent Party.

Anyone is free to attend the board meeting.

Scott West:

I find the notion of a minor party advocate throwing aspersions on other parties as being “frivolous” […] to be really disheartening. This apes the “There Is No Alternative” blather of the Democratic and Republican party apparatchiks. You’re going to get pulled into the Democratic orbit, arguing like that.

[..] The incumbents write the rules. Anything bureaucratic hurdle that trips up the Constitutionalists or the Socialists can be turned against the Greens or anyone else challenging the status quo. We need simplified ballot access, especially in states like Illinois and North Carolina. Trying to game the system just plays into the hands of the duopoly.

Common Tater:

With write-in votes and/or faithless electors, any candidate could theoretically have a mathematical chance of winning.

That’s a silly threshold anyway, since we all know that the Greens and Libertarians are extremely highly unlikely to win the presidency.

Who’s to say you have to draw a line somewhere when it comes to ballot access? California managed an election that I voted in with 135 candidates just fine, and Iraq had one with 111 candidates iirc and managed OK too; yet the states with the easiest ballot access, no signatures needed, get 10-20 candidates for president at most.

Also, who am I, a non-”progressive,” to tell Socialist Party members whether the Green Party is socialist enough for them or not, etc? That is their business to decide for themselves.

Ross Levin:

I’m a registered Green, I’ve been active in Green campaigns in Philly and CT, and I founded a College Greens chapter at my college, and I sent an email to Rob Sherman to tell him to withdraw his petition challenges. I really hope this wasn’t supported by the party.

Richard Winger:

Common Tater, thanks for reminding us of the October 2003 California special gubernatorial election, which had 135 candidates for Governor on the ballot. Peter Camejo, Green Party candidate in that election, got 242,247 votes in that election, 2.80%. That was a higher percentage than he got when he ran for Governor as the Green nominee in 2006. In 2006 he got 205,995 votes, 2.37%, even though in 2006 there were only 6 candidates on the ballot.

Veronica Nowakowski:

From the Green platform:

“We will act to broaden voter participation and ballot access.”

Here, an officer of the Green Party is acting to narrow ballot access instead of broaden it. This is a fundamental hypocrisy that is making the Green Party seem no more legitimate and no less prone to double speak than the Democrats. I do not think anyone would be as upset as if the challenges came from the Republican or Democratic parties whom we expect to do such undemocratic actions.

And from IPR comments on the previous story:

Richard Winger:

Rob Sherman seems unaware that the Constitution Party and the Green Party are co-plaintiffs in 5 important constitutional ballot access cases. In four of those cases, those two parties are the only two plaintiff parties. Weakening the Constitution Party will make it easier for the states to beat us in court. The state attorneys can’t defend the early deadlines, so they attack the plaintiff parties. Evidence in these cases includes the number of states in which each of the parties is on the ballot nationwide.

bruuno:

Wow. What an egomaniacal jerk. And his reasoning regarding ‘dividing up’ the 3rd Party vote is nonsensical on every level. The reason the major parties didn’t challenge is because IL will go to Obama by a large margin, no reason to waste time and energy (plus ill will) challenging them. And it wreaks of hypocrisy to whine about the exact same thing that Dems base their objections to the ‘spoiler’ Greens (dividing the vote). Plus what does Michael Hawkins’ behavior have to do with the other petitions?

Additional reader comments are welcome on the previous IPR story, the original Ballot Access News story as well as this one.

Rob Sherman has until Monday to withdraw his objection to the Constitution, Socialist and Justice Party petitions if he can be persuaded to change his mind.

42 thoughts on “Howie Hawkins, Others Respond to Rob Sherman On Illinois Ballot Access Challenges

  1. paulie Post author

    My own comment on the previous story:
    In response to “Also, if the CP, SP, and JP could get on the ballot with minimal signatures–that just makes the GP a bunch of idiots for collecting the unnecessary sigs.”

    It’s not idiotic to try to submit a challenge-proof number of signatures, but the Greens did not actually do that. Had their petition been challenged they would have very likely been knocked off.

    True, they did file more than 25k, but not enough more to withstand scrutiny if someone actually looked through the petition signers to see how many are Illinois registered voters, unless their validity rate is far above anything I have ever heard of on an Illinois statewide petition.

    The Libertarians were the only one who actually submitted a number of signatures that is likely to have been challenge proof, and even that is not certain – in 1998 we filed over 63k and got booted off with a challenge.

    If Greens challenge Socialist and Constitution petitions maybe next time someone from those parties will want to return the “favor” in which case the Greens would need a lot more signatures than they had this year.

    So, as if their job was not hard enough this year in getting on the ballot, Mr. Sherman has now increased the chances that they will have to work twice as hard next time or risk having all that work be for nothing due to a challenge.

    I’ve petitioned for Libertarian ballot access in Illinois in four different elections and worked to try to beat back a challenge in a fifth. I’ve also petitioned in many other states for the last 15 years for the Libertarians, Greens, and two of the parties Mr. Sherman is challenging off the ballot, among others.

    I hope he withdraws his challenge, although he does not sound open to that based on his statements in the article above.

  2. Nick Kruse

    Paulie, you usually do a good job of writing articles. But this one seems very biased. You included 13 quotes from people writing on the BAN article who were opposed to the petition objections, but you failed to post any of the comments on BAN from people who support what Rob did. I believe that if you can only gather 1, 2, or 250 signatures, then you have no business being on the ballot. I wrote many comments on the BAN article supporting Rob Sherman’s actions.

  3. Curt Boyd

    Wow! I’ve been quoted in an IPR article…sweet!

    Seriously though, I support all parties to get on the ballot as much as possible, because I live in a state where ballot access is difficult to achieve. I do hope that Mr. Sherman withdraws his challenges, and allows the other candidates to stay on the ballot, but I’m not holding my breath.

    It’s hard to say that the Justice, Socialist and Constitution parties are frivolous, because, to my knowledge, they haven’t been on the Illinois ballot in some time (if ever), and it is difficult to know what kind of support they will get. Other prominent Greens (and Libertarians) would be wise to join Howie Hawkins in calling for the withdrawls of these complaints as well.

  4. paulie Post author

    Nick, I saw your comments at BAN, and I did not include them here because these are arguments in response to Rob Sherman’s defense of his challenges, which did get its own separate IPR article as well. Rob Sherman lays out a lengthy and detailed defense of his case; this article presents some arguments from the other side. I would be interested in seeing your response to them point by point.

    I believe that if you can only gather 1, 2, or 250 signatures, then you have no business being on the ballot.

    Why not? And what exactly should the number be that you should have to get?

    As I said on the other thread, it?s perfectly logical that those parties collected so few signatures. After all they knew they did not have the money and volunteer base to get 25k, much less 50k or some other challenge proof number.

    It’s quite possible that the Constitution Party could have gathered a few thousand signatures, but since they knew they couldn’t get 25k (or 25k plus a hefty margin) what would have been the point?

  5. Nick Kruse

    Curt Boyd: “It’s hard to say that the Justice, Socialist and Constitution parties are frivolous, because, to my knowledge, they haven’t been…”

    You forgot about the all important Together Enhancing America party. I am sure that party is definitely not frivolous. 🙂

  6. paulie Post author

    BTW I was originally just going to include Howie Hawkins comment in the article, but reading through the BAN comments I felt that other people made additional arguments that Mr. Hawkins did not include, so I decided to add those.

    Nick, are there additional arguments for Rob Sherman’s position that he did not make in his own case in his defense?

  7. bruuno

    Cool that I was quoted in an article. I do regret calling him a ‘jerk’ (not that I don’t think he is but kind of irrelevant and inappropriate) but his explanation really ticked me off.

  8. paulie Post author

    You forgot about the all important Together Enhancing America party. I am sure that party is definitely not frivolous.

    So what if it is? Voters should be able to make that determination for themselves.

    Frivolous is in the eye of the beholder. Many Democrats and Republicans consider the Libertarians and Greens to be frivolous too.

    In the case of Together Enhancing America I agree it sounds frivolous, but what exactly is the harm in allowing the voters to decide?

  9. Curt Boyd

    Nick, in 1984, I’m sure people said the same thing about the Green Party. Without ballot access, it’s hard to be able to gauge support.

    Now, I doubt the Together Enhancing America Party will be on future ballots, or become the ruling third party in the country, but without ballot access, it is difficult for any political party to gain a modicum of support, which, in some cases, is all it takes to get on the ballot!

  10. Lawrence Rockwood

    It would be interesting to have Mr Sherman and Mr. Hawkins address the Annual Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) Meeting being hosted by the Green party at their convention.

    The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) will hold its annual board meeting on July 15, Sunday, in Baltimore, at the Inner Harbor Holiday Inn, 301 W. Lombard Street, at noon. The meeting will be in the Harbor 2 Room. The Green Party is kindly making this room available to COFOE. The national convention of the Green Party will meet on the day before, Saturday, July 14, to choose a presidential and vice-presidential nominee, in the Chesapeake Ballroom of the same hotel. Then, on Sunday morning, the national committee of the Green Party will meet at 9 a.m. in the Harbor 2 Room, but that meeting is expected to be finished by noon, making the space available for the COFOE meeting.

    COFOE was formed in 1985, and is a loose coalition of most of the nation’s nationally-organized parties, other than the two major parties. Also included are organizations that are interested in the legal problems of political parties and independent candidates. The COFOE board currently includes representatives from the Conservative Party, the Constitution Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Reform Party, the Socialist Party, the Working Families Party, Free & Equal, and the Committee for a Unified Independent Party.

  11. William Saturn

    Sherman better hope the Green Party petitions are rock solid, because a challenge in retaliation is possible.

  12. Lawrence Rockwood

    Mr. Sherman’s own candidate responds: “Dear Rob, I urge you to withdraw your challenge to the ballot petitions of the other independent parties in Illinois.
    I can understand the need to maintain a ballot line for the Illinois Greens after this election. But the cost of this challenge is the sense of solidarity that exists with these same parties where we are filing challenges together to open up ballot lines across the country. In particular, challenging the Justice Party and the Socialist Party petitions raises difficulties for us.
    Yours truly,
    Jill Stein, M.D.”

  13. Richard Winger

    Nick, please address the point that the Constitution Party and the Green Party are co-plaintiffs together in ballot access lawsuits in 5 states (Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and New Mexico). They are the only co-plaintiff political parties in 4 of those 5 cases. The states are savagely attacking both parties for not having voter support. If the Constitution Party is removed from the Illinois ballot, that hurts the lawsuits because things like ballot access lawsuits in other states are germaine and are being made.

  14. Andy Finko

    Richard Winger, the ex officio Green Party boss…. calling all the shots. What a hypocrite, particularly from a “let the market decide” and “unfettered, unregulated competition is best” but not when it comes to diluting and screwing the Green Party .

    Libertarianism, at its finest, I guess. Keeping the third parties divided, conquered and under the thumb of the Establishment for decades.

    No thanks, not my kind of democracy.

  15. bruuno

    @Finko- That was perhaps the most disingenuous post I have ever seen here.

  16. NewFederalist

    @14… what in the hell are you talking about? That post makes no sense at all.

  17. Dennis

    Attacking the credibility of Richard Winger is about as low as it gets. And props to Hawkins and Jill Stein for being motivated by principle not opportunity.

    Also, if Rob Sherman really thinks the Constitution Party would pull votes from Jill Stein, he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on what either the CP or the Greens stand for. By his own logic, why not remove Stein from the ballot so the Greens can vote for Goode?

  18. Andrew Ray Gorman

    I applaud both Jill Stein, Rich Whitney, and Howie Hawkins for their opposition to Sherman’s ballot access challenge. A fundamental principle of both the Green and Socialist Parties (of which I am both a member of) is better ballot access. And I assume that the Constitution and Justice Parties are the same.

    Sherman wrongly uses the argument that these are “spoiler” parties. Be realistic: none of these 4 parties is going to win the presidency in a first past the post system. The whole point of running presidential campaigns is to grow the party and its ideology. And, by extension, 3rd parties support changing the electoral systems to proportional representation. This would remove the “spoiler” effect.

    Whether the ideology of these parties is similar or different, they deserve as much a chance as any other at having ballot access. Better ballot access and proportional representation are key ways to make one’s vote count.

  19. Veronica Nowakowski

    Nick, Rob also cites that he had to hire paid petitioners in order to make that happen. Third parties, and especially left-leaning third parties, have a hard time raising enough funds for paid petitioners at $2 a pop. The bare minimum would be $50k for paid petitioners, lots of work above that to make it challenge proof after that. The Green Party has managed to get enough wealthy individuals to make that possible for them, but most do not.

    Socialist Party presidential campaigns are historically running on $30,000, because it’s a bunch of poor people giving $5, $10, $100, no one giving $2500, no well financed PACs. It makes no sense to try to get many signatures because we’re talking about one state and requirements that we cannot afford – this is a money in politics issue. You focus your resources elsewhere and take the loophole.

    The Green Party chose not to do this, but as Richard Winger points out, had they been challenged, they probably would not be on the ballot either, and I know someone mentioned here or on Ballot Access News that the requirements to get on the ballot in 2014 will be much harder. These are laws put in place to keep alternatives off the ballot by the Democrats and Republicans. There aren’t 500 parties trying to get on, there’s 8.

    The truth of the matter is that the more choices there are on the ballot, the more people pay attention to third parties in general. If there are 4 choices, there’s just a few nuts trying to challenge the system. If there’s 8, maybe people want to look into why there are so many people trying to do that – and they start to question why there are so many choices and they only hear about two in the media.

    It’s one thing when those in power try to keep alternatives off the ballot – it’s another when other third parties try to do that. They are validating the rules that are keeping them off the ballot as well.

  20. Zany LP Member

    Sherman better hope the Green Party petitions are rock solid, because a challenge in retaliation is possible.

    Not this year, the deadline has passed. But this may increase the chances they will get challenged in the future and/or in other states where the deadline for challenges has not yet passed this year.

  21. Richard Winger

    Andy Finko, I have been a witness in winning Green Party lawsuits in Arizona, Arkansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. Just last month you and I talked for the first time about the idea of getting the Illinois Green Party to intervene in the pending Libertarian Party lawsuit against the Illinois June petition deadline, and you were interested in that idea. I was also a witness in the winning case against the Montana petition deadline which was filed by an independent candidate who has been close to the Montana Green Party (Steve Kelly). I also supplied information to state legislatures that passed ballot access improvement bills that make it possible for the Green Party to be ballot-qualified currently in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, and Oregon.

  22. Michael W. Hawkins, (M.W.)

    To My Supporters
    Democrats for M.W.
    Republicans for M.W.
    Independents for M.W.
    Thank You All

    My Gifts to you Page one

    1. http://www.democratsformw.com , for the Democrats support I give The 25 Million jobs Corporation that we created this year thru the Humphrey-Hawkins FULL Employment act of 1978.
    2. http://www.republicansformw.com , for the Republicans support I give The Big Business Administration,
    to help separate government and business. Up to 25 million for their corporation that we created this year thru the Humphrey-Hawkins FULL Employment act of 1978.
    3. http://www.independentsformw.com , for the Independents support I give The Insurance Bank Corporation, creating the future for now. Up to 25 million for their corporation that we created this year thru the Humphrey-Hawkins FULL Employment act of 1978.
    4. Together Enhancing America Part y, I give Administration and Policy Creation and Evaluation, with all my crazy ideas mixed in.

    Thank you, Thank you and Thank you again !!!

    If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    With kindest personal regards, I remain.

    Sincerely yours,

    Michael W. Hawkins, (M.W.)
    P.S. Please Ask Rob Sherman to withdraw his objections to my Petitions, so I can become the Best President ever
    I have degrees in Honors Science, Business Administration, Health Administration and 3 classes from completing a Masters in Public Administration with almost 320 college credits, you can tell I have been preparing myself. I am ready to march into hell for a heavenly cause— Together Enhancing America Party

    Rob Sherman I am asking you for Me and America!!! Please withdraw his objections to my Petitions, Please.

    Thank you,
    Michael W. Hawkins, (M.W.)
    Some of the sites might be down we got attacked again, but they will be back up.
    And http://www.smartymartycard.com
    See ya all later

  23. Lawrence Rockwood

    Does any really argue with the goal that every class and every world view has the right to be represented in the political process? We need to thank Andy Finko and Rob Sherman for manifesting what we are fighting, those who would take advantage of someone not being able to express what they themselves have described as their interests and ideals and no one has to settle for less because of some vile legal maneuver or unjust law.

  24. Ross

    From the Georgia Green Party:

    Greens denounce action of Illinois Party County Chairman

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Friday, July 6th, 2012

    For further information, contact:
    678-298-9463 x3
    presssecretary@georgiagreenparty.org

    Georgia Green Party Chairman urges Withdraw of Challenges

    In a letter faxed this morning to the Chairman of the Cook County Illinois Green Party, Bruce Dixon, Chair of the Georgia Green Party urged that the Illinois Party official withdraw his challenge to the ballot access petitions filed by competing political parties.

    “Our position in support of open ballot access is grounded not in any parochial self-interest we as Greens have in seeing our own candidates on the ballot,” wrote Mr. Dixon, himself a Chicago native who relocated to Cobb County Georgia a decade ago, “but in the democratic principle that a voter ought to have the opportunity to cast a ballot for their candidates of choice and to have those ballots counted.”

    Mr. Dixon’s letter accuses the Illinois chairman of setting “a very dangerous precedent.” He points out the strategic alliance being built, not only in Georgia but across the nation, among emerging political parties. These parties are working together in spite of their many political differences to challenge the undemocratic barriers which deny voters an opportunity to cast ballots for their candidates of choice.

    The Georgia Green Party is a co-plaintiff with the Constitution Party of Georgia in litigation challenging the barriers they face with respect to access to the Georgia ballot for their respective 2012 Presidential slates. Georgia poses the most restrictive barriers to ballot access in the world. The barriers were erected in 1943 to limit the participation of black voters, already prohibited from participation in the all-white Democratic primary, from challenging public elections in the General Election by organizing with other parties.

    The Georgia Green Party has organized since 1996 to provide an electoral alternative for voters committed to peace and justice, democracy and ecology. Its has fielded dozens of candidates, most of whom have run as write-in candidates, although some of its candidates in local and non-partisan races have scored 30% or more at the polls. The Party has fielded Presidential slates in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Jill Stein of Massachusettes is expected to win the Party’s nomination at its Presidential Nominating Convention, to be held next weekend in Baltimore Maryland.

  25. William Saturn

    @27

    The GAGP probably ought to copy edit their releases before making them public.

  26. Nick Kruse

    “Also, if Rob Sherman really thinks the Constitution Party would pull votes from Jill Stein, he doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on what either the CP or the Greens stand for.”

    Realistically, most people who vote for either the CP or the Greens don’t have any grasp of what they stand for. Most of their votes come from people who simply don’t want to vote for the Democrats or Republicans. While third party advocates like myself would like to think that most votes for third parties are from people who believe in that third party’s platform, this is not the case.

  27. paulie Post author

    Realistically, most people who vote for either the CP or the Greens don’t have any grasp of what they stand for.

    You have some studies or surveys on that or what?

  28. Nick Kruse

    @30, do you have any studies or surveys that prove me wrong? If you do, I’d be glad to read them.

  29. paulie Post author

    Anecdotal, mostly. It’s one thing when only Greens or only CP are on the ballot; when they are both on the ballot I think there is at least some issue corelaton. If the LP was not going to be on the Illinois ballot then you would have a point about some generic “other” votes accruing to the Greens that may otherwise have gone to the CP. However, as it stands they will mostly be divided between LP, Republican, write-ins and not voting. Since I speak to hundreds of people a day about politics I have a pretty good feel for how many people have some idea about what the LP, GP and CP stand for, at least roughly. It’s enough to account for their vote totals and then some.

  30. bruuno

    @Nick Kruse- I think this is only the case if there is only one 3rd Party/Independent candidate. Those who vote for 3rd Parties in presidential candidates, in particular, I feel know exactly what they are doing.

  31. paulie Post author

    I don’t know that they all know exactly, but I agree with bruuno more so than with Nick on this one, given how few votes the alt parties get.

  32. R. D. Holland

    For 2012 at least, my reason for voting “3rd Party” really is because I am determined not to vote for either the Democrat or the Republican candidates. Having said that, I am not voting blind and am trying hard to educate myself not only about the 3rd Party candidates, but about the many 3rd Parties out there. It is possible that I will at some point align myself with one of those alt. parties, but right now, the candidate being offered by the party is more important to me than the party platform.

  33. NewFederalist

    @35… it has been my experience that when it comes to alternative parties the platforms are far more important than they are with the two dominant parties. In many cases the nominees are also less important that the platform. Just my $0.02 worth.

  34. R. D. Holland

    It’s always nice when a candidate supports his party platform, but as you say, platforms seem less important to the two dominant parties. In fact, am I alone or does it just seem so many candidates are willing to say, support, or oppose anything that will get them elected? And their “position” seems to depend upon the audience they are addressing at the time. But the alternative parties DO seem more dedicated to “cause” than “election.” Perhaps that is why Congressman Goode has impressed me so much with his stand on issues. Even if it means “parting with his party” — as he has done three times in his career — he stands by what he thinks is right, and seems willing to show what so many politicians lack these days, and that is a little “political backbone.” And if you agree with him or not, he has the courage to not just say anything to get your vote. The platform of the Constitution Party also seems to fit Goode’s beliefs, or he theirs, and “the fit” seems a very good one…. “GOP Lite?” I think not. “CP-Tuff” is more like it….

  35. Mark Axinn

    Thanks to Howie for his letter.

    The GP has gone through quite a lot to finally obtain ballot access in NY two years ago. Hopefully we’re right behind them!

    LPNY and GPNY never challenge each other. We leave those kind of heinous tactics to Republican and Democratic scum.

  36. Matthew Jason Silverman

    I’ll say this. Mr. Sherman is Not at all dedicated to help us “third party” activists gain ballot status to fight the corporate political machine that only represents the 1%. Mr. Sherman why don’t you resign as chair of the Illinois Green Party before you make another embarrasing comment like that, again!

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