State Reports – August 2005
The Green Party of Delaware (GPDE) has taken time to digest the results of its efforts in the 2004 elections in order to adjust its goals for 2006. GPDE ran two candidates for newly created seats on New Castle’s county council and one candidate for an at-large seat on Wilmington’s city council.
It appeared that it was possible to win these seats, or at least to make a good showing. GPDE underestimated the strength of the Democratic machine, which elected two union officials in the county races. In Wilmington, the campaign could not, by law, be won by a Democrat, but the city Democratic chair publicly urged voters to support Republicans, and the Democratic mayor tacitly supported the Republican victor at the polls on Election Day.
In contrast to the Maine State House seat won by John Eder, each of these three seats required roughly 10 times as many votes to win. Delaware Greens severely underestimated the financial and manpower resources needed to run three campaigns. Nevertheless, each election garnered many more votes for the Green candidate than the number of Greens registered in those districts. Many voters voiced agreement with Green positions. GPDE now intends to pick electoral battles more carefully and to increase the supply of resources for such campaigns.
In the same vein, GPDE is restricting its efforts to more select issues. Myriad environmental problems could be focused on, including problems caused by traffic, energy wastage and overdevelopment. But for now, GPDE is concentrating all energy on anti-Iraq war efforts. This principled stand, as the peace party, continues the Green Party’s stance from the 2004 election. Delaware Greens will continue to bring out the message that the Iraq war must end now with the immediate withdrawal of US forces.
Contact GPDE at www.gpde.us.
With state membership at 51 as of July 16, the Indiana Green Party (IGP) expects substantial growth in membership and number of locals this year and next, due to the coming off-year state elections.
The IGP Annual Congress Aug. 27-28 overwhelmingly nominated Bill Stant for the Indiana secretary of state candidacy in 2006. As IGP treasurer and past co-chair, Stant’s background in political science and the Green Party position him as a highly qualified candidate for Hoosier Greens. IGP officers and CC members look toward this year and next as a period of expansion, as volunteers collect signatures on petitions to put Stant on the state ballot.
Ballot access in Indiana is among the most stringent in the U.S. Some 30,000 signatures are required for third-party candidates to take part in elections. Once access is achieved, 2 percent of the votes cast for the secretary of state race must be garnered by IGP to achieve ballot access across the board for the election year of 2008.
In addition to ballot-access petitioning, new members are being recruited statewide. Interest in the party is growing around Terre Haute in west-central Indiana, in Elkhart County in the north, and in Porter County in the northwest.
Bill Stant has already appeared at numerous public speaking affairs around the state in anticipation of his state run, and he expects to increase that activity in the coming months. He has said he sees his candidacy as both an opportunity for ballot access and a way to bring new members into the party.
Among matters discussed at this year’s congress in Brown County were proposals for bylaw additions or amendments and the election of officers and delegates. After the first day of business the media was invited to a question-and-answer session with Stant.
Contact IGP at www.indianagreenparty.org.
The Green Party of Louisiana achieves major party status!
On Monday, Aug. 8 2005, after a vigorous spring voter turnout, fees and paperwork were filed with the secretary of state (SoS) in Baton Rouge, and the Green Party of Louisiana (GPL) reached their goal of ballot access.
At filing time, the SoS determined Louisiana Greens had only 1,067 registered voters, but that number was based on a subjective ruling wherein they would accept only two write-in party designations: Green and Green Party. After being questioned by a reporter with the Baton Rouge Advocate, the SoS reversed that decision and agreed to affiliate voters who write in Greens and other variations clearly expressing the intention of Green Party.
Louisiana Greens cooperated with the Libertarian Party on electoral reform and continue to lobby jointly for changes in the new voter registration form. The SoS has said there will be too little room on the form for listing newly qualified third parties and may omit the party affiliation section altogether. GPL leaders are opposed to this change, and seek copies of forms from other multiple-party states in order to show its feasibility.
The GPL State Convention, planned for Oct. 22-23 in New Orleans, will be the first such event with invitations sent to all registered Greens statewide. Organizers of the convention hope to use the event as a jumping-off point for building locals throughout the state.
New Orleans Greens are planning an Autumnal Equinox party to celebrate and build on registration success. The Greater New Orleans Green Party is organizing a Green slate for the 2006 municipal elections, hoping to run a candidate for each of the seven city council seats and for mayor. To date three people have expressed interest, two for city council seats and one for mayor. Organizers plan an unadulterated no-holds-barred citywide coordinated Green campaign and will be actively fundraising. All campaign volunteers please contact Leenie Halbert at Leenie@LaGreens.org. Housing can be provided.
Contact GPLA at www.lagreens.org.
[Ed. note: Green Pages offers its condolences to the Gulf Coast states and wishes for a speedy recovery. As of press time, it appears unlikely that the GPLA will be able to go ahead with its planned state convention.]
The Frederick Greens, a Maryland Green Party (MGP) local based in Frederick, Md., won a huge ballot access victory last month. On July 21, with the help of attorney Barry Kissin, the Frederick Greens and their candidate for Frederick city alderman were able to force the city council to amend the city charter to permit candidates of any recognized political party to be accorded access to the ballot.
Green Party member Joanne Ivancic faced an enormous hurdle to get on the ballot for city council in Frederick this November until her efforts to change the city charter opened up ballot access to Greens in the city. Prior to the change, persons not affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans were required to collect the signatures of 3 percent of the active voters in Frederick, attesting that they intended to vote for the petitioning candidate. Also, the city had no mechanisms for candidates outside of the Democratic and Republican parties to establish candidate accounts until the petitioning requirement was fulfilled.
MGP made its second annual appearance at the Maryland State Fair, Aug. 26-Sept. 5. With the petition to maintain ballot access underway, the state fair presented a great opportunity for MGP to collect signatures from thousands of Maryland voters. Last year, Greens impressed voters with a multimedia display while passing out thousands of pieces of literature for their 2004 congressional candidates. Maryland Greens look forward to continuing to educate voters about the party and the Ten Key Values.
Contact MGP at www.mdgreens.org.
The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has been hard at work, moving forward bearing the Four Pillars.
Supporting grassroots democracy: working with local campaigns to help the people take back power in Detroit and Benton Harbor and driving towards enough petition signatures to bring instant-runoff voting back to Ann Arbor elections.
Standing up for social justice: outing the roles of Ds and Rs (and corporate America) in CAFTA and preparing to knock Ward Connerly’s “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” off its reactionary bloc[k], if it ever makes it onto the ballot.
Spreading ecological wisdom: opposing the re-licensing of the Palisades nuclear power plant and rallying support for stronger controls on extractions of Great Lakes water.
Preaching and practicing peace and nonviolence: stringing paper cranes in a small-town peace park on the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima A-bomb, spreading news about the rights of high-school students and parents to opt out of contact with military recruiters, posting and proliferating unofficial petitions to support the troops by bringing them home now (official petitions couldn’t go on the ballot statewide until Nov. 2006!), helping finalize and file the petitions that suspended dove-hunting and will give the people a chance to vote next Nov. to make that suspension permanent, personally signing petitions boosting the Downing Street Memo and supporting a “New National Priorities” ad that started with PeaceWorks.
Some issues touch more than one pillar. For example, GPMI’s Issues Group is developing a new flyer linking for younger voters the cost of war and its cost to our economy. Michigan Greens have been active on the national level, filling several seats on national committees and sending several resolutions to GP-US. Michigan Greens are also already preparing for issues to tackle in 2006: candidate recruitment, a review of the nominating process, and a fundraising plan that might make history in Michigan!
Contact GPMI at www.migreens.org.
New Paltz Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler became the first New Yorker elected to the GP-US Steering Committee at the GP-US Annual National Meeting at Tulsa, Okla. Rotzler and New Paltz Mayor Jason West are proud to still be under a permanent injunction against performing same-sex marriages. Syracuse Green Sally Kim, who has been extremely active in campaigns around New York State, was elected as one of the 10 voting members of the GP-US Coordinated Campaign Committee.
Three Green Party of New York State (GPNYS) proposals for reforming GP-US were voted down at the Tulsa meeting. The proposals called for “one person, one vote;” a procedure determining state membership size; a national presidential convention delegate selection procedure; and a “declaration of independence” preserving GP-US autonomy from Democrats and Republicans.
Despite burdensome requirements for nonballot-access parties, Green Party candidates are running in Steuben, Onondaga, Albany, Monroe, Ulster, Queens, Chenango, Suffolk, Kings and Rensselaer counties. Corning city council candidate Darin Robbins needs only 100 votes to get elected. Brooklyn Borough president candidate Gloria Mattera is taking on eminent domain. Monroe disability activist Chris Hilderbrant is building a grassroots following. Longtime civic activist Cesar Malaga is getting attention in the Suffolk Latino press. Center for Law and Justice founder Alice Green is running for Albany mayor, and labor activist Howie Hawkins is running for Syracuse mayor.
Until GPNYS regains automatic ballot status by obtaining 50,000 votes in the 2006 governor’s race, voters may join the 37,874 New Yorkers who have registered Green by checking the “Other” box on the state voter registration form and writing in Green.
Contact GPNYS at www.gpnys.org.
The Green Par-ty of Pennsylvania (GPPA) hosted their Summer Gathering on a muggy Aug-ust weekend at a Green solar-powered farm in York County. Instant-runoff voting and conflict resolution workshops were featured on Saturday. After a potluck supper, Green musicians performed, candidates spoke and drummers drummed. The meeting was on Sunday; 40 delegates attended. Energetic new leaders filled two vacant steering committee seats, and the Delegate’s Hour, when requests from locals for endorsements are aired, was unveiled.
The first report was “Crisis in Haiti” (www.delcopledge.org), followed by a pan of the Academic Bill of Rights, which would curtail liberal bias in the classroom. The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, which seeks legislative relief from unconstitutional laws, also reported (www.paballotaccess.org).
A GPPA delegate to the National Committee (NC) moved that two proposals be made to the NC, either calling for the secretary of GP-US to hold a special election for the selection of the final co-chair, or for the NC to declare Tom Sevigny that co-chair. The motion passed.
The treasurer passed the hat to support the 31 local candidates in 2005, collecting over $700. The last item before lunch was “Lessons from Previous Campaigns,” with remarks from past, present, and future candidates. GPPA Chair Marakay Rogers announced her candidacy for governor in 2006; several candidates for General Assembly and Congress also announced their campaigns.
Ballot access dominated the remainder of the meeting. Blyden Plotts projected signature gathering for 2006, concluding that GPPA will not be able to reach the minimum 67,000 (100,000 for challenge protection) required. In 2004, 27,000 signatures were required. GPPA’s chair proposed legal action to end this moving target. Two other minor parties are helping fund the lawsuit (with GPPA as lead plaintiff). Delegates cheered their consensus. After a tough year, GPPA stands united!
Contact GPPA at www.gpofpa.org.
Since Crawford is in Texas, many Greens have been coming and going from here lately. One nearby local Green, Justin Mueller from Waco, took some friends out to show support at Camp Casey, helping out by shoveling hay, keeping water iced and other organized revolutionary activity. Greens from the Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin areas also made their way to the encampment.
Texans will vote in November on whether to add a constitutional amendment to define marriage. The language is such that common law marriage will also be threatened, and discrimination will be enshrined in the state’s constitution. The Green Party of Texas (GPTX) has joined a coalition to get out the vote and run progressive candidates in 2006 against all legislators who decided this was more important than school finance. Neither incumbent political party has endorsed the campaign.
Greens in Houston organized a well-attended Peak Oil Conference. All over the state, Greens have been screening End of Suburbia and engaging people in conversation around it. Fort Worth Greens show a controversial political movie every Sunday at a community screening.
GPTX has been selling green magnetic car ribbons that say “Green Party,” “Bring ’em on…home,” and “Really support the Troops.” People express appreciation for having an alternative to all the yellow ribbons.
Over the last couple of months the mostly new State Executive Committee has been working on establishing a more sustainable internal organizational structure, improving communication flow, re-establishing media presence, reaching out to county Green parties and compiling institutional knowledge regarding elections and ballot access.
A campaign training school is coming up, and preparations are being made for a 2006 ballot access drive.
Contact GPTX at www.txgreens.org.
The Green Party of Utah (GPUT) has completed more than half of its ballot access petition drive. GPUT is preparing to organize the campaign of Julian Hatch, who plans to run against Senator Orrin Hatch in 2006 on the GPUT ticket. Several months of preparation are necessary before officially announcing Julian’s candidacy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
GPUT continues to provide outreach at local tabling events. The war crimes document is in progress and posted on the website. The party also participated as a sponsor in the anti-war event on Sept. 24 in Salt Lake City. The GPUT website, www.gput.org, contains a link to a ride board where people arranged rides to major cities for these anti-war rallies.
GPUT’s delegation to the Green Party of the United States attended the national convention in Tulsa, Okla. in July, where they presented a workshop on nuclear issues and participated in the meetings of the National Committee. A complete report with photos of the convention can be viewed at the GPUT website. Utah delegates report that attending the convention was an excellent experience with lots of networking, as well as learning what is happening in other states.
GPUT thanks the organizers of the Tulsa event and everyone who assisted with and participated in it, helping make this convention a valuable experience for all. Here in the desert, GPUT will continue to grow by using ideas that came out of the convention.
This summer the Wisconsin Green Party (WGP) organized the “Bring the Troops Home” referendum initiative. Jeff Peterson, the coordinator, will issue a report.
WGP’s Summer Gathering was held in early August at High Cliff State Park, near Lake Winnebago. The focus was on relaxation, fun, and the state party platform. People camped out Friday and Saturday nights and sang around the campfire. Campers joined in remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with lighted lanterns, silence and singing.
Three proposals, to be presented to the National Committee of GP-US, were passed at the Gathering:
1) Seeking to provide a guarantee that the votes cast by a state in the first round of balloting at a national presidential nominating convention are proportional to the support each candidate received in that state’s primary, caucus, mailed ballot or nominating convention.
2) Amending the rules and bylaws so that any state party that places a candidate on the ballot other than one nominated at the Green Party National Nominating Convention will be in violation of their affiliation agreement and will be subject to disaffiliation on the motion of two or more state parties and a vote of at least two-thirds of those delegates voting. This would not apply to those state parties that did not include the nominated candidate due to a lack of petitioning signatures or electoral success.
3) Publicly calling for divestment from, and boycott of, the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized.
Preparations are underway for a Wisconsin Green Campaign School to be held Saturday Nov. 5 at Stevens Point. The school is for potential Green candidates or campaign volunteers for the Nov. 2006 election.
Contact WGP at www.wisconsingreenparty.org.