NC Green Party leader: Our party should be heard, not blocked

·3 min read

The N.C. Green Party’s first pillar is grassroots democracy, which requires the participation of the many, not the few.

We are tired of being corralled into the dead-end politics of fear and cynicism that marks political parties beholden to Wall Street money and corporate interests. We are trying to fundamentally redefine what an American party is and to move beyond the era of Coke vs Pepsi politics where voters are presented two unlikable options without much input and then fear-mongered into believing these candidates are owed our vote.

Tony Ndege
Tony Ndege

When the N.C. Green Party approached war veteran Matthew Hoh about running, the office that made the most sense was U.S. Senate. A strong anti-war voice is desperately needed in our political debates.

From the outset of 2021, we sensed there would be a higher level of scrutiny in our bid to get back on the ballot. During the height of the pandemic we asked the governor’s office to allow electronic ballot petition signatures, which would reduce our signature requirement while protecting the safety of our petitioners and the hundreds of thousands of people they would have to approach.

We received no reply. Correspondence with the State Board of Elections was often strained and involved inadequate information.

Our petition drive was exceedingly difficult. Over the winter we had to rely on our own supporters for over 90% of our signatures. A spring rebound helped us surpass our goal of 19,000 signatures. We collected 22,500.

By refusing to certify our party in a timely manner in accordance with state statute, the SBOE has caused damage to our party and compromised future petition endeavors.

This left the door open for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and other operatives to engage in unprecedented harassment and intimidation of thousands of people who signed the N.C. Green Party petition. Signers were relentlessly texted, auto-dialed, and even visited at their homes by paid operatives who asked them to remove their signatures and said that having the Green Party on the ballot would harm Democrats at the polls.

The SBOE’s actions have favored the Democratic Party and resulted in serious injury to the democratic process.

Their claims have undermined the reputation and standing of county election boards across the state, casting a cloud over them and forcing workers to engage in many hours of signature-checking and tedious paperwork.

If the SBOE’s intention is to ensure democracy, it should make getting on the ballot easier. For example, the board could push for the N.C. General Assembly to allow electronic petition signatures and reduce the number of signatures required.

Now, the N.C. Democratic Party is seeking to circumvent the Green Party’s federal court complaint by filing a complaint at the state Superior Court level. Outrageously, the lawsuit claims that having the Green Party on the ballot will somehow hurt the Democrats’ vast resources and make it harder for them to get their voters to the polls.

There is a reason why unaffiliated voters have become the largest voting block in our state. People are dissatisfied with the non-solutions of the politics of fear and division. They are hungry for new ideas and solutions.

The N.C. Green Party collected well over the required signatures for party recognition because we speak to the concerns of millions of voters and our independent voice must be allowed on the ballot this November and beyond.

Tony Ndege is Co-chair of North Carolina Green Party . He lives in Winston-Salem.