Home General New York Times Covers Arizona Green Party Problem Concerning Unwanted Nominees
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New York Times Covers Arizona Green Party Problem Concerning Unwanted Nominees

Published on September 6, 2010, by in General.

The New York Times has this story about the Green Party of Arizona, and how a former Republican state legislator recruited candidates to run in its primary, even though the candidates have no connection with the party.

If state election laws would let small qualified parties nominate by convention, this problem would not exist.

The reason it is so easy for write-in candidates to be nominated in the primaries of newly-qualifying parties in Arizona is because the Socialist Workers Party won a lawsuit in 1980.  The SWP had complained about the number of signatures needed to place a member of the party on the SWP’s primary ballot.  The U.S. District Court Judge upheld the number of signatures needed for a candidate to get on the primary ballot (even though the SWP had so few registered members, it was impossible for anyone to get on its primary ballot), but struck down the companion law that required a minimum number of write-ins for anyone to win the primary of a newly-qualifying party.  One write-in is sufficient, if the write-in candidate has more votes than anyone else running for the same nomination.

Write-ins are not counted in Arizona unless the write-in candidate files a write-in declaration of candidacy.  If the Green Party had known that these candidates would be filing declarations of candidacy, the party could have recruited bona fide Greens to also file write-in declarations of candidacy, and the bona fide Greens certainly would have received more write-ins than the candidates recruited by the Republicans.  But, the Green Party had no means of knowing what was about to happen, and by the time they knew, it was too late.

9 Responses

  1. […] The New York Times has this story about the Green Party of Arizona, and how a former Republican state legislator recruited candidates to run in its primary, even though the candidates have no connection with the party. … View full post on the new york times – Google Blog Search […]

  2. Tom Yager

    They managed to not quote one single Green in the story.

  3. The NYT also managed not to bring up the primary vs convention problem either: pesky third parties!

  4. Unasked question: Why is the Arizona Green Party so slack? Why weren’t they trying to run candidates before this happened? Some self-reflection from Greens about their own failure to act is called for here.

  5. Minor parties, with limited resources, are behaving rationally when they decide to run nominees in only a fairly small proportion of any state’s partisan races. It is extremely rare for any party, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties, to run candidates for even half the seats in a state legislature that are up. Even the Progressive Party of Vermont, which elects more state legislators than any other minor party in the nation, never runs candidates for the legislature in more than about one-sixth of all the races.

  6. Demo Rep

    Notice — the EVIL Donkeys/Elephants are in a divide and conquer mode — See Caesar at work in the dying days of the Roman Republic.

    i.e. – using bogus third party and independent candidates to divide the enemy votes — to win in the marginal gerrymander districts — to get gerrymander POWER.

    P.R. and App.V.

  7. Derek

    Maybe third parties ought to have write-in primaries!!

  8. Lois

    The larger issue doesn’t relate to the write-ins, but to Larry Gist, the rightwing Green candidate for Arizona governor who petitioned his way onto the ballot. The Green Party had time to file a legitimate Green candidate in the primary against him — the deadline for petitioning onto the primary ballot was the end of May, the deadline for being a write-in candidate was mid-July, but the Arizona Green Party just stood on its hands and couldn’t find a single genuine Green to run against a candidate for the state’s biggest race against a rightwing man who called in the gubernatorial debate for privately run prisons and other distinctly non-Green ideas. People will vote for Gist and he will siphon off votes from the Democratic candidate and elect the current, anti-immigrant, anti-envirnonment right-wing governor.

    Leaving the write-ins aside, the state party acted irresponsibly in getting on the ballot without a gubernatorial candidate. Didn’t they realize SOMEONE would take advantage of their ballot line? Amateurs!

  9. Blaming the Arizona Green Party for this travesty of democracy is misplaced. It appears that the laws make it easier for anti-democratic forces to poach a minor party ballot line than it is for that party to protect their spot. As is pointed out, the AZ Greens didn’t know about write-in candidates until long after they could put their own candidates in those races.

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