Jake Johnson Third Party Two-Party System

‘Blatantly Partisan’: NC Green Party Candidate Slams State Dems for Denying Ballot Petition

"The hardest thing I've ever seen the Democrats fight for is to keep a disabled Marine combat veteran off the ballot," said Matthew Hoh, the Green Party's presumptive U.S. Senate nominee.

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

The North Carolina Green Party’s presumptive U.S. Senate nominee accused the state’s Democratically-controlled Board of Elections of “a corrupt, lawless, and blatantly partisan attack on democracy” after it voted Thursday against certifying Green Party’s petition for its candidates to appear on the November ballot.

“It’s a slap in the face to the thousands of people who signed, to our grassroots organizers who worked tirelessly to collect thousands of signatures during an ongoing pandemic, and to everyone who believes in democracy itself,” Matthew Hoh, a longtime anti-war activist, said in a statement.

All three Democratic members of the state election board voted against certification of the Green Party while the body’s two Republicans voted in favor.

The board said after the vote that it opted “not to recognize the Green Party as an official political party in North Carolina” due to “an ongoing investigation into evidence of fraud and other irregularities in the petition process used to seek ballot access for the party.”

The board acknowledged that the Green Party obtained more than the required 13,865 valid signatures for formal recognition, but it claimed that “several counties and state board staff identified numerous irregularities.” Hoh said the Green Party received 15,953 verified signatures.

Allegations that the Green Party committed fraud in the signature-collection process have come primarily from the Elias Law Group, a firm that serves as general counsel for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

The Carolina Journal reported Thursday that shortly after the Green Party submitted the signatures it had collected for ballot representation, “the Elias Law Group was able to get the names and addresses of those who signed through a public-records request.”

“These Green Party supporters were then repeatedly called, texted, and visited at home by Democrat operatives and asked to sign forms to renounce their earlier signature of the petition,” the Journal noted.

Hoh provided the outlet with a recording of one call in which a person claiming to be a volunteer for the Green Party presses a signatory on whether they “strongly supported” the party’s effort to get on the ballot. The person then proceeded to read off a script used by DSCC callers claiming that Republicans would have a “huge advantage” if the Green Party made it onto the ballot in November.

The Journal interviewed a separate Green Party supporter, Janet Nagel, who “said she also received misleading, harassing calls” from “a woman who represented herself as with the Green Party.”

“It seemed illogical,” said Nagel, who told the caller that “people who would be voting for the Greens were not going to be voting for the Democrats,” so getting the Green Party on the ballot would not provide any meaningful boost to the Republicans.

“Then, as a non sequitur, and this was the part that really concerned me, [the caller] said, ‘So would you want to remove your name from the petition?'” Nagel added.

In response to the calls, Hoh said that “the hardest thing I’ve ever seen the Democrats fight for is to keep a disabled Marine combat veteran off the ballot.”

While Hoh vowed Thursday to fight the decision, the board’s vote against certifying the Green Party likely means its candidates will be barred from appearing on the November ballot—the deadline to get candidates on the ballot is today, July 1.

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said during the body’s meeting Thursday that “we feel like there is a cloud over how many signatures are valid.”

“There’s just a lot of concern around what we’re finding,” Bell added.

As the local News & Observer reported Thursday, “Board of Elections staff gave a presentation in which they argued the petition sheets submitted by the Green Party showed several ‘obvious signs of fraud.’ Among these, the staff said they had witnessed similar signatures, partial dates of birth, and deceased voters being included in petition sheets.”

Hoh countered that the board never gave a sensible justification for its refusal to certify the Green Party’s 15,953 verified signatures.

During Thursday’s meeting, Green Party attorney Oliver Hall repeatedly pressed Democratic board chair Damon Circosta to explain why the signatures aren’t acceptable.

“I don’t want to get into the details of a criminal investigation, but I have questions sufficient in number to not be willing to vote for certification today,” Circosta replied.

When Hall asked again, Circosta had him muted.

Following the meeting, News & Observer notes, “a spokesperson for the State Board of Elections later clarified that the investigation was currently internal, and any criminal findings would be referred to law enforcement following the board’s review.”

Jake Johnson
Jake Johnson

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

12 comments

  1. The electoral system has been rigged for a long time, it is now just becoming more blatant, because both parties know that “we the people” don’t stand a chance when fighting their cartel.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! This maneuver has long needed the light of day …

    It has been clear for some time that the Ds will do whatever they can to keep any challengers from competing with them for people’s votes … This is not the first time they have used their well oiled machine to do this – of course they have a “right” to challenge signatures – but then they establish a “deadline” for getting candidates on a ballot, a deadline which makes it all but impossible to defend the challenged signatures, which are then declared invalid simply because they were challenged – guilty until proven innocent

    I have worked on GP campaigns, locally (don’t kid yourself, this maneuver is used at all levels of gov’t, not just the “big” ones) spending hours verifying petitions – some of which were “invalidated” for the most petty of reasons, failing to dot a certain i or cross a certain t.

    Maybe Trump took a page out of their playbook – yelling “fraud! fraud! hey, it’s worked for them, why not me” – we rightfully dismissed it and called it “bunk” in his case, time to do it here as well ..

    The Ds have long been insisting that “there is no alternative” (TINA) to D/Rs – then spend a lot of time making sure of that – by keeping folks off ballots, out of debates, and starved of Fed’l election funds … So even as they claim they are fighting for everyone’s “right to vote” – in the small print it says, “but only for D/Rs”

    We hear a lot these days about how “democracy is in trouble”, “democracy is threatened”, etc. etc. Indeed it is, but precisely by the same people who claim to be defending it. The Ds tell us it is the Rs who are threatening democracy by restricting voter access to the polls – but the Ds are as big a threat, if not bigger, when they restrict voter access to candidates – candidates that may well represent them in office much better than any D/R, but they are not allowed to choose them …

    We have had decades of going to the polls feeling we had to choose between a LOTE (lesser of 2 evils) because TINA – so we did, and here we are, with a Pres. who has assured us that, indeed, “nothing will fundamentally change” –

    People talk about the need for a “revolution” – and increasingly that seems to be a violent one – because TINA, the “electoral process has failed us, it is of no use for making change” – but perhaps it is not the process so much as the way we have used it – to keep electing the same folks over and over and expecting different results when even our D Pres tells us it won’t … and thus all but ensuring that at some point it will be violent

    As they say, those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable …

  3. What is the matter with Circosta? As if he couldn’t organize full transparency to the verification process of signatures and go the extra mile of suspending judgment until neutral parties assessed the authenticity of the signatures. His refusal to certify smells rotten and lends weight to the perception again of the Democratic Establishment manipulating events – not to serve the voters – but their own ends. Don’t they and Circosta “get” their shadow efforts sow distrust and worse among voters?

  4. The two-party duopoly will brook no interference with their monopoly on democracy. The welfare-warfare state cannot be sustained without consensus of the citizenry.

  5. I’m confused. Am I supposed to blame Trump for this, or Putin?

    Just another day in the Empire of Lies in this era of the new dystopia.

  6. Jake, welcome to the Club (war-club) to exclude the Green Party, which BTW, is the only truly international/Global Party (with more than countries having Green Parties!

    Your article only touches the surface with respect to the GPUS (Green Party U.S.) being strangled by the totally ‘Anti-democratic’ and ‘Pro-Empire’ dual-party Vichy-facades of this faux-democracy.

    While your article is good, Jake, you certainly know from being in Maine, that the storied effort by Ralph Nader, to raise the GREEN Party as a critically and essentially needed alternative to this two-‘Pro-Empire’ partying scam, but well Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal ‘Children-Killing’ and ‘War-Starting’ EMPIRE.

    In Ralph’s valiant attempt to grow the Green Party into an honest ‘Anti-War’ and ‘Anti-Empire’ Party starting in 1996 in the Maine, (Dirigo, “to lead”) State, I wrote a political-economic policy paper in Ralph’s 1996 run to expose the two corrupted ‘Pro-Empire’ parties as looting our peoples government by the “Greatest Hidden ‘Negative Externality Cost’ Corporate Tax on American” (applied not by our government, but by the “Quiet American” Empire of corporate thieves)

    “‘Blatantly Partisan’: NC Green Party Candidate Slams State Dems for Denying Ballot Petition” — is nothing compared to how I was illegally excluded from running against Chellie Pingree by pro-Republican and Democrat cheats during the voting qualification process and thrown off-campus of the university of Southern Maine, where I had already paid a fee to be on campus, where I collected candidate petition signatures, and when — during January through March in the Maine winter, I was thrown off-campus, and also served by police with a Trespassing Order for the whole year of 2022, by the Dean of Students and his ‘gate-keeper’ Assistant Dean of Students on Mardi Gras Day.

    The USM students were signing my candidate petition-sheets freely, rapidly, and they even complained about my exclusion from campus.

    Naturally, I drove to the Maine Capital in Augusta, and presented my case to Shanna Bellows, the Secretary of State, from whom I had gotten the candidate petition sheets, but she contended that it was the decision of the University of Maine College System, I also pleaded my case with Aaron Fry, the Maine Attorney General, who had a subordinate lawyer tell me that it was the College’s decision, and that the Attorney General was not responsible for the the Maine University System’s legal position, but that the Public University System was only represented by and outside General Council, with whom I would have to pursue legal action, privately, at my own cost.

    How’s that, Jake, for a sad story of excluding a Green Party candidate for District #1 for U.S. Congress against the multi-millionaire, 8 term, sitting (in a true sense) Chellie Pingree!!

    There is NO DOUBT, that Maine, like all other states in America, is sucking hide teat in terms of having any FAIR and HONEST CHANCE in this crooked as a winding road system of EMPIRE, merely ‘POSING’ as a (small ‘d’) Democracy???

    Alan MacDonald
    Wells, Maine

  7. Jake, welcome to the Club (war-club) to exclude the Green Party, which BTW, is the only truly international/Global Party (with more than countries having Green Parties!

    Your article only touches the surface with respect to the GPUS (Green Party U.S.) being strangled by the totally ‘Anti-democratic’ and ‘Pro-Empire’ dual-party Vichy-facades of this faux-democracy.

    While your article is good, Jake, you certainly know from being in Maine, that the storied effort by Ralph Nader, to raise the GREEN Party as a critically and essentially needed alternative to this two-‘Pro-Empire’ partying scam, but well Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Racist Propagandist Criminal Ecocidal ‘Children-Killing’ and ‘War-Starting’ EMPIRE.

    In Ralph’s valiant attempt to grow the Green Party into an honest ‘Anti-War’ and ‘Anti-Empire’ Party starting in 1996 in the Maine, (Dirigo, “to lead”) State, I wrote a political-economic policy paper in Ralph’s 1996 run to expose the two corrupted ‘Pro-Empire’ parties as looting our peoples government by the “Greatest Hidden ‘Negative Externality Cost’ Corporate Tax on American” (applied not by our government, but by the “Quiet American” Empire of corporate thieves)

    “‘Blatantly Partisan’: NC Green Party Candidate Slams State Dems for Denying Ballot Petition” is nothing compared to how I was illegally excluded from running against Chellie Pingree by pro-Republican and Democrat cheats during the voting qualification process and thrown off-campus of the university of Southern Maine, where I had already paid a fee to be on campus, where I collected candidate petition signatures, and when — during January through March in the Maine winter I was thrown off-campus, and also severed by police with a Trespassing Order for the whole year of 2022, by the Dean of Students and his ‘gate-keeper’ Assistant Dean of Students on MardiGras Day.

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