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On December 29, officers of the North Carolina Green Party presented the State Board of Elections with evidence that the party meets the new definition of “political party”. The evidence consists of proof that Jill Stein was on the ballot in at least 35 states in 2016.
An employee of the State Board of Elections said that this evidence cannot now be accepted, because the State Board technically now has no members, and therefore it doesn’t exist. The State Board’s web page says that all the member slots are “vacant.” This is because in 2017 the state legislature passed a bill changing the makeup of the State Board, and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper sued to invalidate the new law. The lawsuit, Cooper v Berger, 52PA17-2, is pending in the State Supreme Court (the lower state court had rejected the lawsuit). Until it is settled, the employees of the Board maintain that there is no Board.
Previously at BAN:
On December 13, the General Counsel to the North Carolina State Board of Elections sent a letter to the North Carolina Green Party, making it easier for a party that had put its presidential nominee on the ballot in the last election in at least 35 states to prove that it had done this. Originally the State Board wanted such a party to obtain a notarized statement from election officials in each of the 35 states. But the new letter says that the publication of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, “Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 8, 2016”, is good enough. The letter says that because the federal government publishes this book, it can be relied on.
“Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election (for a particular election date)” is a publication that has been published continuously starting in 1920. In midterm years, the title is just “Statistics of the Congressional Election”. The 2016 version has a table in the back showing that the Green Party’s presidential nominee was on the ballot, with the party label, in 37 states plus D.C. Because the Clerk’s table is organized by party, not candidate, the “Green” presidential column doesn’t include the states in which Jill Stein was on as an independent.
The new North Carolina ballot access law defining “political party”, passed in October 2017 and effective January 1, 2018, says a party is ballot-qualified for all office if its presidential nominee was on the ballot in at least 35 states in the last presidential election. Such parties nominate by convention, their first year on the ballot; after that, by primary. Thanks to Michael Trudeau for this news.
The new North Carolina ballot access law for parties, SB 656, takes effect on January 1, 2018. It says that any party that “had a candidate nominated by that group on the general election ballot of at least 70% of the states in the prior Presidential election” is a qualified party in North Carolina, once it proves that it was on in that many states.
The State Board of Elections has now created a form for use by a group to prove that its presidential nominee was on the ballot in at least 35 states in the preceding election. The form must be completed by state election officials in each of the 35 or more states. The Green Party, which will be the first party to take advantage of the new law, placed Jill Stein on the ballot in 44 states in 2016. But now the burden is on the Green Party of North Carolina to get this form filled out by state election officials in other states. Here is the form.
Many state election officials will probably be surprised to get a letter from the Green Party, asking that the form must be filled out and returned to the Green Party, which then will forward it to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. The form must be notarized. All this work seems unnecessary, because the Federal Election Commission, and also the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, both publish books that would prove that Jill Stein was on the ballot in at least 44 states.
Here is a news story from North Carolina about the passage of SB 656, the ballot access bill.
UPDATE: see this story, which says that two Democratic Representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto.
For further back in the BAN archives search that site for “North Carolina”.