Rob Sherman Explains Inability to Withdraw Ballot Access Challenges

In the following, Cook County Green Party chairman Rob Sherman explains why he could not withdraw his challenge to the Illinois presidential ballot petitions of the Constitution, Justice, Socialist, and Together Enhancing America parties:


On Sunday, at about 9 p.m., I sent an e-mail to Illinois Green Party attorney Andy Finko, directing him to withdraw my ballot access Objections against the candidates of the Socialist Party, the Justice Party, the Constitution Party and the Together Enhancing America Party, then pending before the State Board of Elections.


Andy had previously asked me to be the representative name on the Objections.  I thought that it was a great idea, and still do, 100%.  I made a big deal of telling the local press that I thought it was a ballot access fraud for these candidates to try to sneak onto the ballot with one or two signatures or, in one case, a few hundred signatures, when thousands of signatures were required.  See, for example:


I even called into question the ethics of the Democratic and Republican Parties for not challenging the fraudulent certifications by the other Parties to the State Board of Elections that the other Parties had met the nominating signature requirements when, in fact, they hadn’t met the requirements.  I further staked my hard-earned 30-year national reputation for integrity (see: and by stating that I wouldn’t condone this electoral fraud by these other Parties, even if the two corporate parties would.  I also stated that my actions wouldn’t prevent anybody from voting for the candidate of their choice.  The other Third Party candidates were welcome to register as write-in candidates and be on the ballot, that way.  However, when your name is pre-printed on the ballot, that affirms to the voters that you had, indeed, met a threshold of widespread support by actually meeting the nominating petition signature requirement.  I would not condone such a blatant fraud against the voters.


In addition, if Jill Stein gets 5% of the vote in Illinois in November, the Illinois Green Party then becomes an Established  Political Party under Illinois law, thus providing that we would need far fewer signatures on nominating petitions for the next four years.  For that reason, I, as Chairman of the Cook County Green Party, wanted to see the Third Party vote and the indiscriminate anybody-but-the-Democrats-or-Republicans vote consolidated amongst two Third Party candidates rather than diffused amongst six Third Party candidates.


Before Andy asked me to be the representative objector, though, he contacted the Stein campaign for their thoughts on the subject. Ben Manski, Chairman of the Jill Stein for President campaign, told Andy, on Monday, July 2, 2012, that this was a decision for the Illinois Green Party and not one for the Stein campaign.


Then, on Thursday, July 5, 2012, Ben Manski sent me an e-mail, stating that the Stein campaign had reversed that position and now wanted me to withdraw my challenges to the ballot petitions of the other independent parties in Illinois.
Later that same day, I received a phone call from Jill Stein, affirming the request that had been made in Ben.


 The next day, Friday, July 6, 2012, I spoke, by telephone, with Ben Manski to inform him that I had gone public with my reasons for filing the Objections, that I had staked my national reputation on it, that withdrawing my objections would completely destroy my credibility by implying that I now do condone those ballot access frauds, that I strongly supported the Objections, and that withdrawing the objections would severely damage the chances of Jill getting the all-important 5% vote in Illinois.  Ben told me that he would take my concerns to Jill and that he would get back to me with the Campaign’s position with my concerns taken into consideration.
 When I didn’t hear back from Ben after awhile, I left several messages, over the past two weeks, on Ben’s telephone number voice mail, asking for the Campaign’s position with my concerns taken into consideration.  I also left voice mail, several times during the past two weeks, with Erica Wolf (possibly Wolfe), who had also contacted me about this matter.  Neither Ben nor Erica ever responded to my phone calls, even though precious time for taking action was slipping away.
 Ben finally got back to me, with an e-mail, at 7p.m. on Sunday, July 22nd, in which he affirmed that the position taken in the Campaign’s e-mail of July 5, 2012, remained their position, even after taking my concerns into consideration.


My Objections were filed individually and not as an action of the Cook Green Party, the Illinois Green Party, the Green Party of the United States nor of the Stein campaign.  However, since the Stein campaign wished that the Objections be withdrawn, and since my Objections were filed intending to be for the benefit of the Stein campaign, I directed Andy to withdraw my Objections.


I went to the meeting of the State Board of Elections on Monday to be present to answer any questions that the Members of the Board may have had as to whether it really was my intent to withdraw the Objections.  However, Andy refused to submit a request to the Board that my Objections be withdrawn.  You are welcome to ask Andy why he did what he did:


The bottom line is this:  When I was asked by the Green Party to be the Objector, I immediately complied with that request.  When I was asked by the Green Party, after taking my concerns into consideration, to withdraw the Objections, I immediately complied with  that request, too.  As a result of immediately complying with both requests by the Green Party, I am being demonized by certain members of the Green Party, but I don’t take that criticism seriously.  That’s because, it turns out, there are some in the Green Party who are dual Party members or even multi-party members — members of other political Third Parties, such as the Socialist Party.  I am presuming that much of the criticism against me comes from Green Party members who have a huge conflict of interest.  They are trying to get the Green Party to do things that are not in the best interest of the Green Party but, rather, in the political interest of other Third Parties who are running candidates against my Green Party candidates and who are competing against Green Party candidates for votes.


It is not my job to help other political parties to either get on the ballot or to compete against Green Party candidates.  I will not be intimidated by those traitors to the Green Party.  I have called for them to get out of the Green Party and go back to the other Parties where they came from.


There are also many very sincere members of the Green Party who subscribe to the European notion of multi-party coalition democracy, whereby a Party gets a certain percentage of government power based on the percentage of the vote that the Party got at the last election.  The problem with that philosophy is that this is America, where we have something called “Majority RULES.”  Whichever candidate gets the most votes gets 100% of the power.  All of the other candidates get zero power.  For that reason, it is necessary to consolidate the vote for Green candidates, rather than spread out the Third Party vote amongst many Third Party candidates.  I want Green Party candidates to win, not merely be part of a large group of losers.  Many Greens just don’t get it.

22 thoughts on “Rob Sherman Explains Inability to Withdraw Ballot Access Challenges

  1. Deran

    Outrageous. This fellows actions and words are a real black mark on the Green Party, this guy, and if true that the Stein campaign supported this idea, it really says some ugly things abt her campaign.

  2. Elitist Greens

    Rob Sherman inherited some money. The Illinois Green Party has sold their souls to keep him happy. The Illinois Green Party has become worse than the Democrats, which is hard to do in Illinois, but just like Democrats, the Illinois Green Party has been bought. The condescension and elitism displayed in this letter should be enough for Green Party members to take away Sherman’s leadership position, or leave that party in Illinois. Rob Sherman’s “national reputation” has made Jill Stein and the Green Party look like tyrant wannabes who think they alone should determine who can be on the ballot because they are better than everyone else.

    We should all shun the Green Party completely until they grow up and stop being Rob Sherman apologists just because he inherited some money. Don’t help the Green Party with ANYTHING until then.

  3. NewFederalist

    I’m not going to judge anyone but just say that the Greens have no one to blame but themselves if Illinois decides to adopt Georgia-style ballot access laws. After all, if a party doesn’t poll at least 20% of the vote it really can’t be important enough to be on the ballot now can it? The idea that one minor party would judge another minor party as being insignificant due to the number of signatures they collected is a very bad path to travel. What goes around comes around.

  4. Trent Hill

    I care not what his excuses are, he never should’ve filed any challenges.

  5. Elitist Greens

    #6 – Illinois and Georgia are pretty close already other than the 20% versus 5% threshold for party status. Georgia requires 5% of registered voters in 180 days, Illinois requires 5% of the last vote total in 90 days. In some of those cases, Illinois is already worse than Georgia on signature requirements. Independents in Illinois needed 10% until that ballot access law was ruled unconstitutional in 2006. You’re right, Georgia is the worst, but Illinois is right behind them already. 25 years without even one independent able to get on the ballot for our state assembly or for US Congress in Illinois.

    Trent – so true. And Sherman didn’t need Finko to write the withdrawal of his objections, Sherman could have done that himself if he had an ounce of intelligence. It doesn’t take a lawyer to write a withdrawal of objections and turn it in. It could have been handwritten on a piece of paper in about a minute’s time. Rob Sherman is not known for being truthful, but, as Bruuno correctly stated, he is known for being a narcissistic jerk.

  6. bruuno

    #8- I don’t buy the “Finko excuse”. It stinks of him claiming he tried to withdraw the challenge (to appease the National GP) while not actually doing it because he still felt he was in the right. The guy is trying to pull a fast one and thinks he is smarter than everyone else. I will say it again-the guy is a jerk.

  7. Green Party Voter

    Rob Sherman did the right thing.

    It is absurd that candidates for President of the U.S. should be allowed on the ballot with 2 signatures in a state.


    Those two people should join the Green Party.

    I thank Rob Sherman for waht he did.

  8. Elitist Greens

    It is absurd that candidates for President of the U.S. should be kicked off the ballot because they didn’t get at least 35,000 raw signatures. If Democrats had objected to Jill Stein this year, she would have been thrown off the ballot, and you Green Party Voter, have just announced you believe Jill Stein should withdraw from the Illinois ballot because the Greens failed to meet the legal requirements in Illinois. It is unethical for the Greens to be on the ballot simply because they got lucky and no one objected to them this year, right? And the states where Jill Stein only needed one signature and a filing fee to get on the ballot, you should be calling for her to withdraw if you are the least bit consistent.

    Is Howie Hawkins the Green Party VP candidate? No? So then, Jill Stein should be removed from the ballot for committing fraud (using Sherman’s logic). Keep trying, but there is no justification for kicking people off the ballot because they didn’t get 25,000 valid signatures. If you agree with Sherman, then you also agree that the Democrats were right and noble to kick Ralph Nader off the IL ballot in 2004 even though he turned in more than 35,000 raw sigs.

  9. NewFederalist

    Green Party Voter… you have missed the entire point. Who gets to decide how many signatures or how many votes is enough? It will always be the dominant parties. Why make their jobs easier by stabbing other alternative parties in the back? Why should the Greens care if the Prohibition Party gets on the Illinois ballot with a petition of just a few hundred signatures? Isn’t participatory democracy one of the tenets of the Green platform? How could tossing the Drys off the ballot with a challenge possibly advance the cause of democracy? Now substitute the Socialist Party for the Prohibition Party and it becomes more clear that this is about the same narrow political advantage you hope to gain by not splitting the leftist vote. That still does not advance participatory democracy.

  10. Pete Healey

    This rant by Sherman is exactly why I left the Green Party years ago. Egotistical, narrow-minded bastards have taken over and everyone else can take a hike if they don’t like it.
    Until now, I could put up with a 1%’er like Jill Stein because she said the right things and when I attended a public event where she spoke, I believed that her heart was in the right place. Now, I’m not so sure.

  11. give-me-liberty

    @10, the Greens barely got enough raw signatures to qualify, they sure as hell would have been kicked off the ballot if another party filed a challenge. Expect the standards to be higher in 2016 and expect to be thrown off the ballot because of your fellow party member’s arrogance. You’ve made your bed.

  12. upstartgreen

    You are all making a basic logical mistake by blaiming the Green Party for the actions of 1 or 2 people.
    John has green eyes.
    John is human.
    therefore all humans have green eyes

    in this case
    Sherman and Finko filed the challenge
    They are both Greens
    Therefore all Greens are responsible and should be retaliated against.

  13. Pete Healey

    #16, We are not all making the argument that since Sherman and Finko are Greens… that all Greens are guilty of the same charges. I have stated in other places how the Greens pulled the same crap here in New Paltz, NY five years ago and offered the same bullshit rationales. There are also claims that the State Committee of the Illinois Greens supported most if not all of these challenges. And there are Greens who are publicly defending Sherman and Finko, and Ben Manski himself (you know, Jill Stein’s Campaign Manager) has told me that he isn’t going to discuss the matter with me and I should just shut up.
    How’s that for a broad brush?

  14. Ad Hoc

    Many Greens, Jill Stein included, oppose the challenges, so I would not blame all Greens…only those responsible and those defending the challenges.

  15. Elitist Greens

    #16 & 18 – Did you not read Rob Sherman’s dictates? It wasn’t just Sherman and Finko, IF you can believe anything Sherman says. Sherman says he is right, and everyone who disagrees with him is wrong and they should leave the Green Party if they don’t agree with him on this. Sherman is claiming these actions of kicking people off the ballot fit perfectly with what the Green Party stands for.

    If you don’t want this guy taking over your party and making the Greens look exactly like the Democrats you should do something about it. Right now. If Greens aren’t going to hold them accountable for these actions, why shouldn’t we all hold the Greens accountable for being apologists for these wretched actions?

  16. Ad Hoc

    I’m a Libertarian, and we’re the only party that would have survived a challenge in Illinois if there had been one. Had we been as Machiavellian as Mssrs. Finko and Sherman we could have challenged their party off the ballot. From what I understand they had 29 to 30k raw, and if you have ever petitioned in Illinois you know the chances of 25k of those being valid are somewhere around those of winning top prize in the Powerball lottery.

    I do, however, respect the many Greens I have seen comment here and at Ballot Access News, and write and call Mr. Sherman to ask him to withdraw his challenges. These include many prominent party leaders as well as rank and file Greens.

    As a non-collectivist, I believe in treating people as individuals. That includes Green Party members.

  17. Ryan C

    does this mean that there will only be four candidates on the IL ballot?

    D, R, L, G?

  18. Michael Cavlan RN

    Pete Healey- good seeing you Sir.

    NOW do you all understand why I left the Green Party? Despite their protestations about Robert Sherman doing this on his own, we need to remember a few things. Sherman is the GP Chair of the most populous Green county in Illinois- Cook County. He was ELECTED by the Greens to that position. He also had the assistance of the GP lawyer in Cooke County.

    Green Party elitists is correct. No matter. The Greens playing footsie by doing safe states with the Dems have made themselves irrelevant.

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