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State Board of Elections ends recognition of Green and Constitution parties in N.C.

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DTH Photo Illustration. After failing to meet the threshold of voters in the 2020 election, the Constitution and Green parties are no longer recognized political parties in North Carolina.

Two political parties, the Green and Constitution parties, will no longer be recognized in North Carolina as of Jan. 27. 

The Constitution and Green parties both failed to meet the necessary voting requirements in the 2020 presidential and state elections, according to a recent announcement from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

The Constitution Party’s platform runs on several key values, including traditional marriage, private property rights, anti-socialism, free speech, support of the second amendment and the pro-life movement, Kevin Hayes, vice-chairperson of the Constitution Party of North Carolina, said. 

The Green Party’s platform rests on grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, non-violence and the combined principle of social justice and equity, Tommie James, co-chairperson of the North Carolina Green Party, said in an email. 

In order to maintain the status of a recognized political party in North Carolina, the parties' candidates would have had to reach 2 percent of the total vote for either the governor's election or the state's presidential election. 

Al Pisano, who ran for governor with the Constitution Party, pulled only 0.38 percent of the votes. Constitution Party presidential candidate Don Blankenship received 0.14 percent of the votes. 

“One of the issues we have is there was four candidates for governor, and the media only covered two of the candidates, so we were unable to get our message out that way,” Hayes said. 

Hayes said another issue was difficulty campaigning due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions. 

For the Green Party, its presidential elector, Howie Hawkins, received 0.22 percent of the general votes. 

It is possible for these parties to petition for state recognition again by gathering enough signatures or by having a candidate nominated on the general election ballot of at least 35 of the states. 

To help achieve this, James said in an email that the party received a grant from the Green Party U.S. Ballot Access Committee and has additional funds from member dues. 

“During the pandemic we will contact thousands of supporters on the phone and hang petition forms and updates at their doors," he said in the email. "We are also pursuing a pandemic-related reduction to our petition signatures and the ability to petition electronically as has been granted in many states.”

The two parties didn’t gain recognition in North Carolina until 2018.

“This year was the first election year they were able to have candidates in statewide elections,” Patrick Gannon, public information director for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said. 

Now, both parties are trying to petition the state to keep their registered voters. New voters, or anyone who updates their registration, will no longer be able to choose either of these parties, according to the State Board of Elections.

“We’re trying to keep the State Board of Elections from changing our registered voters, and so we’re going through the general assembly,” Hayes said on behalf of the Constitution Party. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll be looking into legal actions.

The Constitution Party has about 5,200 registered voters, and the Green Party has about 3,900. 

Right now, state law dictates that the status of voters registered with these parties will not change for at least 90 days after the general election. The State Board of Elections is set to take up this issue at a Feb. 23 meeting. 

But in the long term, both parties are on a mission to once again reach state recognition. 

“We are confident that we will regain ballot access before the end of the year,” James said. 


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