NC elections board denies recognition of Green Party
Story updated at 4:29 p.m. on June 30
The Green Party will not be recognized as a political party in North Carolina after a Thursday vote by the State Board of Elections.
The board cited an ongoing investigation into evidence of fraud and other irregularities in the petition process used to seek ballot access for the party, according to a news release from the board. The vote was 3-2.
If the Green Party had been recognized, party candidates could have appeared on ballots for the upcoming November general election. Also, North Carolina voters would be allowed to register as affiliated with the party.
During the past several weeks, county boards of elections in the state validated enough signatures by registered voters to put the party over the 13,865 required for recognition under state law.
However, as county boards reviewed party petition sheets and later as the State Board of Elections examined these petitions, several counties and the board staff identified numerous irregularities, the release states. That is when the State Board opened the investigation into the apparent irregularities.
So far, the investigation has found numerous petition pages containing signs of fraud or other irregularities. This includes signatures that had previously been approved by the county boards.
The State Board of Elections said the irregularities include:
- The same handwriting throughout a petition page and/or signatures that clearly appear to be written by the same person. It is illegal to sign the name of another person to a petition.
- Three signature-gathering contractors hired for this petition collected 1,472 signatures, but only 624 were accepted. At least three workers were paid by the signature collected.
- Voters apparently signed petitions more than once.
- Voters whose names appear on the signature sheets claim they never signed the petition.
- Petition sheets include deceased voters or voters long-removed from the voter registration files, indicating submission of signature sheets from a past Green Party petition drive.
- Signature pages identify a long-ago Green Party chair, also indicating submission of outdated signatures.
North Carolina Green Party Co-Chair Tony Ndege called the actions by the state board "absolutely unprecedented to essentially ignore the county boards just because they feel that some signatures may be invalid."
He stated he has worked at ballot access for the party all across the U.S. and found the decision by the board to be "the worst election board ruling" he has ever encountered.
Futhermore, Ndege called the decision "grossly undemocratic and unethically overruled the correct decisions of the county boards and the democratic participation of the people."
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