WASHINGTON - July 14 - With ballot petitions due today in Michigan, South Carolina, and Oklahoma, the Greens expect to see David Cobb and Pat LaMarche, the Green national ticket, on the ballot in as many as 40 states.
Michigan and South Carolina are among the 22 states and the District of Columbia where the Green Party currently has ballot access. Oklahoma has per capita the most difficult ballot access rules in the U.S., requiring 37,000 validated signatures in a state with a population of about 3.5 million. Oklahoma Greens are considering an initiative to bring their state's requirements in line with the rest of the country after the election.
"Because of burdensome and unreasonable petitioning requirements in so many states, Greens have adopted the strategy of achieving ongoing ballot lines so that we don't need to undertake difficult petition drives every two or four years," said Holly Hart, Iowa Green and co-chair of the party's national Platform Committee.
Eight states have petitioning deadlines in the first week of August: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Greens already have ballot access in half of these.
Greens also condemned the tactics of Democrats in Arizona and other states who have launched efforts to block ballot access for independent candidate Ralph Nader.
"The two old parties, in enacting restrictive ballot access laws, have rigged the system in many states to exclude other parties and independent candidates," said Peggy Lewis, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
"Voters benefit from having several candidates and parties on the ballot from which to choose who best represents their interests and ideals. Greens have challenged Democrats and Republicans to implement reforms like Instant Run-off Voting, Proportional Representation, and Clean Election options in order to make elections fairer. Instead, many Democrats have tried to obstruct candidates from outside of the two established parties, with Ralph Nader the latest target. The outrage that Democrats faced in Florida in 2000 is something that Greens, other parties, and independents face every election cycle throughout the U.S."