Democracy Denied – Electoral Fairness Act

For Immediate Release May 1, 2003 Marie de JongMedia OfficerNC Green

Democracy denied and lost on two counts.

Raleigh. The electoral Fairness Act, passed over for five sessions straight, was thrown out of the NC House of Representatives on May 1, without being brought to a vote.

In response to the decision to kill the Bill, Alan Burns of Charlotte, the co-chair of the N C Green Party, said, “This week’s political shenanigans insult the voters of this state and display a fear of opening up the democratic process.”

H 867 would have widened the choice for North Carolina voters by enabling new parties to get on the state and national ballots. The current law stipulates new parties must collect 2% or 58,842 signatures to qualify for ballot access. The bill would change that to .5% or 14, 7ll. The second difference, a reduction from 10% to 2%, in the number of votes the party must receive, to retain ballot status in the next election.

The Electoral Fairness Act was at the top of the agenda when the House convened last Friday. Alternating daily, the House Speakers, Republican Richard Morgan and Democrat Jim Black skipped over the Bill in the following five sessions of the house. May 1, the final day a vote could be called, Morgan allowed H 867 to die on the floor.

Rep. John Blust (R-Guilford), the Bill’s sponsor, appealed for House support, in his introductory remarks. “Bring on the competition! Maybe it’ll keep us on our toes!”

North Carolina’s requirements to gain ballot access are the second most demanding in the Nation. The state’s voter turnout is below the national average, for example, compared to 49% nationally, only 34% vote in the 18- to 25-year-old age group.

On April 17, N C Green Party chair, Elena Everett, a senior at NC State University told the Representatives, “You’re losing young voters. It is a lack of choice that alienates us and keeps us away.”

The Greens plan to re-introduce the Electoral Fairness Act. ###