North Carolina Green Party Scores Major Win in Ballot Access Dispute
The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) voted unanimously on Monday to recognize the North Carolina Green Party (NCGP) as an official registered political party in the state. The decision marks another twist in what the North Carolina Green Party claims is a concerted effort by North Carolina Democrats to prevent Green candidates from appearing on the November 2022 midterms ballot.
Under North Carolina law, parties must obtain 13,865 real signatures from registered voters, including at least 200 signatures from at least three different congressional districts, to be recognized by the NCSBE, which is a panel of five election administrators and an executive director chosen by the governor. Individual candidates can also submit signatures in order to appear on the ballot, though they must collect signatures from 1.5 percent of registered voters in order to qualify. To keep ballot access, parties must win 10 percent of the vote in the state’s gubernatorial and presidential elections. If not, they must reapply to regain NCSBE recognition and appear on the ballot in successive elections.
State law requires that these documents be submitted by July 1 in every election cycle so the board can review them ahead of the November ballot preparation process that takes place in August. A majority of the NCSBE’s members must vote in favor of recognizing parties and candidates and certify the validity of the signatures they obtained before they can appear on the November ballot.
Back in 2018, the NCSBE officially recognized the NCGP, granting them ballot access through the 2020 presidential and gubernatorial elections. During this time, the NCGP ran several candidates for local and federal office, never meeting the 10 percent requirement. Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins won just 0.22 percent of the vote in North Carolina in the 2020 presidential election. As a result, the NCSBE revoked the NCGP’s recognition, forcing it to reapply for ballot access ahead of the 2022 midterms, where they planned to field candidates in the U.S. Senate race and several House races.
Many states have imposed signature requirements and other access barriers to the balloting process. Reason has previously reported on how neighboring Georgia’s similar ballot access laws, designed to bar communist candidates from appearing on the ballot, have stymied the emergence of third parties and the prospects of their candidates. These laws, which usually require prospective candidates to collect signatures from their local area in support of their candidacy, have raised the bar to entry for electoral politics dramatically for fledgling parties. Back in 2005, the North Carolina Libertarian Party experienced similar c
Article from Reason.com