Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Request for Inclusion in LWV Debates

My letter to the League of Women Voters asking to be included in their attorney general debates this fall is posted on my website at http://www.voterachel.org/debates.html. Let the League's Board of Directors know you would like the Green Party candidates included in the debates. Contact information for the Board members is posted on their website at http://lwvny.org/League_BOD.htm. Here is what I said in my letter about the criteria LWVNY uses on being included in polls:

"Your guidelines state that one of the criteria you look at is receipt of support in non-partisan polls. As you are no doubt aware, there are major barriers to the inclusion of the name of a particular third party candidate in polls in New York. Because the Green Party currently does not have ballot status in New York, our statewide Green Party candidates this year had to file independent nominating petitions to get on the ballot. We were not allowed to begin collecting signatures until July 11, 2006. Our last day for filing was August 22, 2006. In contrast, the period for collecting signatures on designating petitions for candidates of ballot status parties began on May 6, 2006, and ended on July 13, 2006. When LWVNY announced your 2006 candidate debates on July 25, 2006, the names of the Democratic and Republican candidates were on the ballot, but we still had almost a month of petitioning to do. Even after we filed on August 22, 2006, it was not certain that our names would be on the ballot. Objections to our petition had to be postmarked by August 25, 2006. It was not until this past Friday, September 1, 2006, that we could breathe more easily and figure that our petitions were not going to be challenged. This delayed timetable for independent candidates in New York militates against the inclusion of our names in any polls up to this date. The fact that our names have not been included in the polls being conducted and reported all summer is a major barrier to our getting publicity for our campaigns, and makes it less likely that our names will be included in future polls.

"Our success in obtaining 30,000 signatures of registered voters on our independent nominating petition reflects widespread voter interest in seeing third party candidates on the ballot. I personally collected about 600 signatures and most of the voters I talked with were pleased by the idea of having additional candidates to choose from on the ballot. Many people expressed frustration with the closed nature of our current electoral system.

" The responses we received from voters during petitioning are consistent with results obtained by polling firms when they ask questions about having third parties candidates on the ballot. A poll last spring by Princeton Survey Research Associates found that 73% of Americans agree it would be a good idea for this country to have more choices than just Republican and Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential elections. Polls also show that many Americans do not identify as Republicans or Democrats. In a survey conducted of 15,000 voters during April 2006, Rasmussen Reports found that just 32.7% of Americans identified themselves as Republicans, 36.3% identified as Democrats and 30.9% identified themselves as unaffiliated with either major party. Policies that exclude all candidates from candidate debates except Republicans and Democrats are not reflective of voter opinions and desires.

"In a poll reported last week by Rasmussen Reports, a plurality of voters in 32 states including New York agree that the political system in the U.S. is "badly broken." The survey found that voters in New York are more likely than voters in any other state to express a concern about voter suppression. Thirty-four percent (34%) of the New York voters surveyed hold this view. This result is not surprising to those of us working to build viable third parties in New York and encountering the many barriers arrayed against us.

"If your criterion regarding support in polls is to be applied in a truly non-partisan fashion, and if you have not included this criteria in your guidelines simply to exclude all third party candidates, you will consider the results of these polls and not confine yourself to the narrow question of whether my name has been included in a particular poll when you decide whether or not to invite me to participate in your debates."

No comments: