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Florida Greens -v- Bush Ballot Line


GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATEShttp://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Monday, September 13, 2004

Greens to Florida Dems:
Don't Give Bush Free Pass on Ballot Line

While Democrats block Nader's ballot access in Florida on technicalities, a 'gentlemen's agreement' between Democrats and Republicans allows state to ignore Bush's missed deadline; Greens face similar double standard across the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party members across the U.S. are supporting the demand from Florida Greens that President George W. Bush be removed from the Florida ballot, in accord with Florida election law.

Florida Republicans missed the September 1 filing deadline to place Mr. Bush on the state ballot, but Florida Democrats are refusing to hold them to state election rules. Meanwhile, Florida Democrats have used election rule technicalities to deny Ralph Nader his Reform Party line on the Florida ballot, and Circuit Judge P. Kevin Davey ruled on September 8 that the Reform Party failed to meet legal qualifications as a minor party to run Mr. Nader in Florida.

The Green Party of the United States nominated David Cobb and Pat LaMarche at the party's 2004 convention in Milwaukee in June. But Greens have also defended the right of Mr. Nader and running mate Peter Camejo, running as independents (with Reform Party ballot lines in several states), to have their names on state ballots, especially in the face of efforts by Democratic Party operatives in many states to obstruct them.

"Florida Democrats are giving Mr. Bush a free pass, while working to block Ralph Nader's access to the ballot," said Sarah Steiner, chair of the Green Party of Florida. "Democrats and Republicans have a 'gentlemen's agreement' to exempt each other from election rules, while holding the rest of us to the letter of the law. Either we hold Democrats and Republicans to the same rules as everyone else, or democracy and fair elections are a sham."

"Democratic and Republican election supervisors frequently use technicalities to keep Green Party candidates off the ballot," said Susan Metz, Green candidate for State Assembly from the 57th District in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Metz was denied her ballot line despite having enough petition signatures because she filed the required certificate of acceptance one business day late. She is challenging the decision.

Florida Democratic Party chair Scott Maddox defended his party's refusal to make an issue of Republicans' failure to meet the deadline for presidential candidates: "To keep an incumbent president off the ballot in a swing state the size of Florida because of a technicality, I just don't think would be right." (St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 2004)

Florida Green Party spokesperson Julia Aires expressed the anger of many Florida Greens: "If the Green Party or the Reform Party had not gotten their names in by Sept. 1 and they said, 'You missed the deadline,' I don't think we'd have a leg to stand on.... They would have kept us off the ballot on a technicality if they could have." (St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 2004)

Greens said that the free pass given by Florida Democrats to Mr. Bush recalls Al Gore's refusal to demand a recount in every county during the 2000 Florida election debacle and the failure of Florida Democrats to challenge Republican election officials' disqualification of thousands of Florida voters, especially African Americans.

"Democrats have much more to fear from a 2004 Bush victory than from third party candidates," said Julia Aires. "Apparently, Democratic politicians and officials would rather see Bush reelected than tolerate a ballot with candidates outside the two major parties."

MORE INFORMATION

The Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org

The Green Party of Florida http://www.floridagreens.org

Cobb/LaMarche 2004 http://www.votecobb.org

"Did Bush camp err on ballot papers? Democrats say the president may have missed Florida's filing deadline, but say they don't plan a challenge." St. Petersburg Times, September 11, 2004 http://www.sptimes.com/2004/09/11/Decision2004/Did_Bush_camp_err_on_.shtml

"Judge deals Florida ballot setback to Nader" St. Petersburg Times, September 10, 2004 http://www.sptimes.com/2004/09/10/State/Judge_deals_Florida_b.shtml

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