Third party representation increases in NC

The Green Party was added to North Carolina’s ballot for November 8 midterms after a long battle with Democrats that included lawsuits and alleged fraud.

Previously, to vote for a Green Party candidate in North Carolina, the only option was to register them. But after the North Carolina State Board of Elections certified the Green Party on Aug. 1, residents can now register as unaffiliated or as members. Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Green parties.

Matthew Hoh, North Carolina’s Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, said he thought certification was a step in the right direction.

“Maintaining the status quo will only do the same thing, and voting for the lesser of two evils has brought us to this place where millions and millions are suffering, and things are getting worse,” Hoh said. “The only thing we can do is create the change we need, because it won’t happen just hoping the system gets better on its own.”

According to the North Carolina Green Party website, their values ​​include democratic and economic reform, social justice and equal opportunity for all, as well as the demilitarization of society and environmental protection.

Jason Husser, a professor of political science at Elon University, said the United States had a political system designed for only two political parties, and nothing could change while that system was in place.

“A key thing to remember is that in the United States we have single-member districts with an everyone-go system, and therefore we have a two-party system,” Husser said. “For third parties to be effective on a level that is truly sustainable over decades, we need to move to a multi-member system with proportional electoral rules.”

Shannon Bray, a Libertarian candidate for the US Senate from North Carolina, is happy to see more representation on the ballot.

“Both parties are losing support to third parties because it is clear that the two in power do not represent the people. … I appreciate Mathew standing up for the voices he represents and he and his party have every right to be there,” Bray wrote in a statement to Elon News Network. “Not having the Green Party on the ballot would have been a miscarriage of justice.”

According to its website, the Libertarian Party has been on and off the ballot since 1996 but has maintained party status every year since 2017.

Even though their political beliefs aren’t completely aligned, both Bray and Hoh have said they have a common enemy.

“When you hate the choices the Republican and Democratic parties give you, you show them your displeasure by voting for your constituents. Republicans and Democrats are forced to take up issues we care about when their vote count drops,” Bray wrote. “Different voting numbers invite us to the bigger tables because the rules are written against us.”

Hoh said that because Democrats and Republicans answer to their top donors, they refuse to have strong opinions.

“They don’t want the issues we bring up, the things we want to talk about, to come up during the campaign. Because if we’re not in the race, then we’re not talking about housing, healthcare, education and jobs,” Hoh said. “These things that have a real impact on the lives of millions in North Carolina are not being discussed because those discussions are inconvenient for Democrats or Republicans because it affects major Democratic and Republican donors.”

The Green Party, including Hoh’s campaign, does not receive donations from corporations or political action committees, only from individuals. Hoh said that because he doesn’t respond to donors, the Green Party is able to take more distinct positions on issues than the Democratic Party.

“All of these things that have a very real effect on people,” Hoh said. “People always say it’s like a deadly status quo because those are the things that Democrats aren’t going to change and those are the things that are killing people, that are causing families to be drowning in debt, that are that people lose their homes, which contribute to the worsening of the situation of the working class and the middle class.

Husser said “third parties have a very, very minor impact on US elections,” but Hoh said he thinks Democrats are worried the Green Party will take some of their votes.

“Political parties are a stable, long-term psychological attachment,” Husser said. “It’s not that simple that they make more money, and that’s why they win.”

Hoh thinks adding third parties will help start changing the system.

“By having these independent campaigns, you emphasize the two-party system, and it forces change because unless you force it to change, it won’t change on its own,” Hoh said.

Fight for certification

Certification is the only way for a political party to appear on the ballot. This can happen in three ways, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. First, the group can qualify with at least 2% of the total votes cast in the state in the last general election for Governor or President. Alternatively, a candidate must be named on the general election ballot in 35 states in the last presidential election.

The final option — the one the Green Party has chosen — is to file a petition with the signatures of at least 0.25% of all registered voters in North Carolina who most recently voted for governor, with at least 200 registered voters signing in 3 congressional districts. According to NPR, in this election, 0.25% of all registered voters in North Carolina who met this qualification is 13,865.

National Democrats questioned the validity of signatures on a petition to certify the Green Party in North Carolina over the summer. On June 30, the National Board of Elections voted 3-2 against adding the Greens to the ballot, with all three Democrats on the board voting against.

After a board investigation, 481 signatures were deemed invalid, either because they were signed after the deadline or because the signatures did not match. However, the party still had 1,600 valid signatures above the minimum of 13,865.

The Green Party protested, saying Democrats were trying to protect their Senate candidate, Cheri Beasley, from competition. He filed a lawsuit against the board, claiming the denial violated the First Amendment and due process rights.

Because the petition still had more than enough signatures, the State Council certified the Green Party on August 1. However, due to the investigation, he missed the July 1 deadline to be included on the ballot.

On August 5, the United States District Court ruled that the Green Party would appear in the November 8 ballot.

According to the Associated Press, during the investigation, Democrats canvassed and called petition signatories, asking them to reconsider because the Green Party could take away votes from Democrats. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee admitted to contacting the signatories. The Green Party filed a lawsuit, alleging Democratic interference.

Hoh denied allegations that the Green Party signatures were fraudulent.

“The fraud that was committed was committed by the Democratic Party trying to prevent us from voting by a number of things, one of them including these false allegations that we had committed fraud in order to obtain our place on the ballot,” Ho said. “I think most people see through that, most people understand that’s the nature of the two-party system, that the two-party system is corrupt, it’s undemocratic and it’s harmful.”

The NC Democratic Party also filed a lawsuit against the National Board of Elections, saying it should not have certified the Green Party while the fraud was still under investigation.

Husser, on the other hand, said the chance of the Green Party getting substantial votes from Democrats is low.

“They have margin impacts,” Husser said. “They can push members of the bipartisan system to the left or right on certain issues, and they can take votes away from bipartisan candidates who can swing an election or, at least, have the theoretical possibility of swinging an election. But most people don’t pay attention to them because they don’t matter so much.

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