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MD Green Party Calls for Non-Discriminatory Governor Debates

Maria Allwine

Maria Allwine

The Maryland Green Party calls on debate sponsors, participants, and supporters to allow all ballot-qualified candidates to participate in this year’s Governor debates.

Martin O’Malley and Robert Ehrlich are scheduled to participate in a debate moderated by WJZ anchor Denise Koch on Monday, October 11.  Green Party Governor candidate Maria Allwine has not been invited.

The Green Party calls on this and any future debates featuring the Democratic and Republican nominee to include all candidates who will appear on the General Election ballot.

“Despite being on the ballot in next month’s election, Maria Allwine has not been invited to participate in Monday’s debate, nor have the Libertarian or Constitution Party candidates been invited to debate,” said Ken Eidel, Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor.  “We’re not sure what standards WJZ used to determine who is electable and who is not, but Marylanders’ freedom to make up their own minds is apparently not one of them.”

Allwine, who won 17% of the vote in the 2007 Baltimore City Council President election, noted that “Excluding other parties’ candidates from debates denies Marylanders the opportunity to hear new and different ideas about how to best solve the problems that face us and further diminishes our democratic process.  Elections become less and less about citizens exercising their right to make a choice and more and more about Democratic and Republican candidates deciding for the voters who they will see and what they will hear.”

The Green Party opposes all activities exclusionary to some parties, but particularly urges organizations that use public resources to avoid
discriminatory practices in hosting candidate forums and debates.

“Although WJZ is a corporation, the airwaves they use to distribute their product are a public resource,” said Brian Bittner, party co-chair.  “Any Marylander close enough to receive their signal can consume WJZ programming for free, on account of the public largess in distributing TV and radio bandwidth.  Stations that benefit in that way should play fair with the public by not telling them which candidates for the highest office in the state they should and shouldn’t hear more from.”

According to Ballot Access News, a prominent source for minor political party news and analysis, “over half the states in which major party gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates have debated each other have included at least one minor party or independent candidate” so far this year (http://bit.ly/byQL8B).

The Maryland Green Party calls on all supporters of open debates to sign a petition calling for non-discriminatory debates at http://bit.ly/GPsezOpenDb8

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