Green Party Presidential FAQ 2012

Dr. Jill Stein in Madison, WI 12-16-2011 170.jpg

Dr. Jill Stein in Madison, WI 12-16-2011

The Green Party has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions from journalists about the Green presidential candidates, 2012 Green National Convention, and the party itself. 

• Who are the candidates competing for the Green Party’s presidential nomination?

Roseanne Barr
Kent Mesplay
Jill Stein

Jill Stein is the frontrunner, having won 138 of the 184 delegates assigned so far. Roseanne Barr, in second place, has been endorsed by the Green Party Black Caucus and the Green Party of Philadelphia.  Greens have welcomed Kent Mesplay, now recognized by the Green Party as a presidential candidate, to the race.

• How will the Green Party nominee be chosen?

State Green Parties have been participating in primary elections and hold statewide conventions and caucuses to apportion delegates for the nomination, which will take place on Saturday, July 14 at the Green Party’s 2012 National Convention in Baltimore, Md. ( The convention runs from July 12 to July 15 will be held on the campus of the University of Baltimore.

During the one or more rounds of voting by delegates, the first presidential candidate to gain more than half of the votes will win the nomination.

The 50 states, District of Columbia, and US territories have widely varying rules for party status and ballot access, so the various state Green Parties have their own rules for choosing delegates. The Green Party is tracking the results of the state primaries, conventions, and caucuses ( 

• Why does the Green Party run presidential candidates?

The most important reason is that Americans deserve a real choice on Election Day. Voters deserve the right to vote for whichever candidates best represent their interests, ideals, and values — without being told that their choice is restricted to two candidates. The Democratic and Republican parties together represent a narrow range of ideas and policies. Both established parties and their candidates accept millions of dollars in contributions from powerful corporate lobbies. The Green Party and Green candidates accept no corporate money.

Greens are less concerned about the Obama-Romney contest than with the fact that neither has an adequate jobs program, climate-change action program, or plan to halt home foreclosures; both have embraced military attacks without provocation on other countries; both join their parties in favor of the $600 billion “fiscal cliff” for the post-election lame duck Congress; both favor profits for the health insurance industry over the right of all Americans to quality health care (Medicare For All); both support indefinite detention without due process and other violations of constitutional and international law. Neither corporate-sponsored party protects our rights or addresses the crises we face.

Greens encourage Americans who want fair and open elections to help us replace at-large and winner-take-all voting with important democratic reforms like Instant Runoff Voting (also called Ranked-Choice Voting) and Proportional Representation. Ireland has used IRV since 1937. Runoffs were held in this year’s elections in France and Egypt

The Green Party presidential ticket leads the party’s slate of candidates for all offices. The nominees express the party’s platform, principles, and positions and generate national attention for the Green Party. They also help raise publicity and contributions for state and local candidates during their campaign tours.

Some states use numbers of votes cast for a presidential candidate among their qualifications for party recognition.

• What challenges do Green candidates face in their campaigns?

The greatest challenges are the grossly unfair and antidemocratic election rules in many states. Democratic and Republican politicians in such states have together enacted ballot access rules that privilege themselves and obstruct independent and alternative party candidates.

Pennsylvania in recent years has required Democratic and Republican candidates in statewide elections (for Governor, US Senator, President) to hand in ballot petitions with at least 2,000 valid signatures, while requiring a minimum number “equal to 2 per cent of the total vote of the highest vote cast in the state in the previous election” (ranging between 20,000 and 67,000 in recent elections) from alternative party and independent candidates, along with the threat of excessive, financially ruinous fees for trying to qualify for the ballot.

In Alabama, a party on the ballot by petition or by a previous statewide vote can retain ballot access through the next election by polling 20% for president. In Oklahoma and Virginia, the same process requires 10%. (See Greens, often in coalition with other parties, have worked to overturn unfair rules by petitioning state legislatures and filing lawsuits. There are current or pending lawsuits with the Green Party as a plaintiff in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Greens in Georgia, where 2008 Green presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney has announced her run for the US House, have filed a lawsuit along with the Constitution Party against their state’s ballot access laws, which have been called the most obstructive in the US (

Green presidential candidates are routinely excluded from debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is owned and operated by the Democratic and Republican parties. The CPD took over the debates from the League of Women Voters in 1988 for the purpose of barring other parties’ candidates, as internal memos from the CPD have shown.

Finally, Green candidates must sometimes deal with the mistaken belief among some voters that only Democrats and Republicans are the only “legitimate” candidates or that a two-party limit is enshrined in the US Constitution.

• What is the Green Party’s relation to the Occupy Movement?

The Occupy Movement is nonpartisan and does not support any party or candidate. Greens respect this principle and encourage Occupiers to do what they do best — build a popular movement against policies that have enriched and empowered Wall Street (the “one percent”) while hurting working Americans.

All three Green presidential candidates, as well as many other Greens, have participated in Occupy protests and on some occasions were asked to speak at Occupy rallies. The Green Party’s platform and positions are consistent with the Occupy Movement’s grievances about the growth of corporate power and US government’s descent into oligarchy, military aggression, and ecological irresponsibility. We encourage all voters who share these concerns to register and vote Green.

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