The North Carolina bill is designed in a way that would benefit the Green Party in particular by helping candidates from parties that already have gained ballot access in previous elections. According to Ballot Access News post by election expert Richard Winger, the bill recently was passed out of the state’s House Committee. Here is a bit of what the latest changes to the existing bill would do:
- It moves the independent candidate petition deadline from April to June (it had always been in June, except that a bill passed earlier this year moved it to April, which is clearly unconstitutional);
- It says that a party that is not otherwise on the ballot, but which placed its presidential nominee on the ballot in at least 40 states at the last presidential election, is on the ballot for president only, even without a petition, in the upcoming presidential election;
- It minimizes the odds that any party with its own primary will ever again have a run-off primary (current law says a runoff primary is needed if no one got 40%, but the bill lowers that to 30%).
The Green Party was on the ballot in 44 states in the last election with its candidate Jill Stein, so it would immediately benefit if the bill was passed. As of May 2017, according to Ballotpedia, the Libertarians are the only third party recognized in North Carolina. According to Chapter 163, Article 9, Section 96 of the North Carolina General Statutes:
Any group of voters which shall have filed with the state board of elections petitions for the formulation of a new political party which are signed by registered and qualified voters in this state equal in number to 2 percent of the total number of voters who voted in the most recent general election for governor. Also the petition must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from each of four congressional districts in North Carolina.
According to their website, the North Carolina Green Party (NCGP) is a “membership-based, dues-paying party funded by individual working-class members, not corporate and elite interests”. On local Green Party efforts to gain ballot access:
The Green Party is revitalizing our planet and our democracy without the corrupting influence of corporate and PAC money. In North Carolina, we’re working to achieve ballot access so we can run Greens at all levels of government, and we’re building grassroots people power as well. Because we believe change will come when progressive and radical people’s movements decide that movement activism must also include this critical element: building our own political power outside the confines of the capitalist Democratic and Republican parties.
And the website also claims:
The state of North Carolina has the most undemocratic and difficult ballot access law in the nation in terms of shear number of signatures it requires the Green Party or an independent candidate to gather.