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Green and Libertarian Parties File Lawsuit for Equitable Ballot Access in North Carolina

On September 9, 2010 , the North Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments from the North Carolina Green Party and the Libertarian Party of North Carolina.

The action was filed by the Libertarian Party in 2005 and joined later by the North Carolina Green Party (http://www.ncgreenparty.org). Both parties will argue that current ballot access laws deny third parties full rights guaranteed by the state constitution.

North Carolina Green Party members hosted the Annual National Meeting of the Green Party in 2009 in Durham at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The Durham meeting was the first time an annual national meeting of the Green Party was held at an historically black college or university (HBCU).

Theresa El-Amin

Theresa El-Amin

“The Green Party has 27 ballot lines throughout the US and continues to grow in spite of attempts to suppress voter access to choices other than the two major parties,” said Theresa El-Amin, North Carolina Green Party activist and recently elected co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. “There are 321 Greens running in 2010 for local, statewide and Congressional seats. All fair-minded people support ballot access laws that do not require unreasonable use of time and financial resources. We will continue to fight for justice in North Carolina.”

“It’s a matter of giving voters alternative choices at election times,” said Alan Burns, Green Party member and environmental activist of Charlotte, NC. “Every two years in North Carolina, over 50% of House and Senate seats have only one name on the ballot, and more than 85% of results are predictable for the two major parties before polls open. It’s far cry from democratic rights for voters.”

Richard Winger

Richard Winger

According to Richard Winger, the country’s foremost expert on ballot access laws, “North Carolina requires 2% of voters in the most recent statewide election to sign petitions for a political party to be listed with candidates on the ballot. The massive turnout of over 4 million voters in 2008 in North Carolina set the requirement for ballot access at 85,379 valid signatures of registered voters.”

In 2008, the Green Party nominated Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia Congresswoman, for President of the United States. The North Carolina Green Party ran a write-in campaign for McKinney. Given the low number of write-in votes reported, NC Greens questioned whether all the votes were actually counted.  Greens assert that ballot access is the only way to know for certain whether one’s vote will be counted.

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