Starting in 1920, the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives has published a booklet giving election returns for all federal office. The back of the book has a three charts. The first gives the vote for President by party for each state; the second for U.S. Senate; the third for U.S. House. These useful booklets give anyone a chance to see how many votes each party received in the entire nation, for all three types of election.
For the last twenty years, though, these charts have discriminated against minor parties. The charts show the Minnesota and North Dakota votes for Democratic nominees in the “Democratic Party” column. This is true, even though the Minnesota Democrats are on the ballot as “Democratic-Farmer-Labor” candidates, and even though the North Dakota Democrats are on the ballot as “Democratic-Nonpartisan League” candidates. The policy of putting Democratic nominees in the “Democratic” column is certainly sensible.
But for the Green Party column, the charts have a different policy. Because the Green Party also has a slightly different name in some states, the charts put Green Party votes from those states in the “Other Parties” column. The Green Party has a variety of names on ballots around the country, such as “Statehood Green” in the District of Columbia, “Green Independent” in Maine, “Rainbow Green” in Masschusetts, “Pacific Green” in Oregon, and “Mountain” in West Virginia. The book is not being consistent. It is treating the Democratic Party differently than it treats the Green Party.
As a result of this policy, the 2012 booklet shows that the Green Party’s presidential vote total is 401,164 votes, yet the Federal Election Commission, which does a far better job with its election returns, shows that the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, received 469,628 votes.
The Coalition for Free & Open Elections (COFOE) held its annual meeting in New York city on July 14, and voted to send a letter on COFOE stationery to the Clerk of the U.S. House and ask that future copies of the book treat all parties equally. The COFOE letter was sent on July 24, and it still has received no answer, despite several phone inquiries to the Clerk’s office in August and September. I have asked my member of the U.S. House to inquire with the Clerk about this.
Please, if you wish to help, contact your member of the U.S. House and ask that your member also inquire about this matter with the Clerk. The Clerk serves at the pleasure of the Speaker of the House, so anyone who happens to live in John Boehner’s district, and who inquires with Boehner’s office, can be especially helpful. The name of the Clerk of the U.S. House is Karen L. Haas. If anyone wishes to write her directly, the address is B106 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington DC 20515. Editions of the Clerk’s booklet issued before 1984 did not have this flaw. For example, in 1980, the Communist Party’s ballot label in Arkansas was “People Before Profits”, but the 1980 booklet still put the Arkansas votes in the “Communist Party” column.