Aug 8, 2022 - News

N.C.'s Green Party will be on November ballot

Illustration of two hands fighting over a torn ballot.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Green Party's North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate will appear on the ballot in November, after a federal judge ruled Friday in the party's favor.

Why it matters: The judge's decision is a blow to Democrats who fear that the far-left Green Party candidate, Matthew Hoh, will redirect liberal votes away from Cheri Beasley in a tight race against Republican Ted Budd.

  • The case for Green Party inclusion has drawn national attention, igniting a proxy war of sorts between political heavyweights, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and top Democratic attorney Marc Elias' law firm.

"Both parties are very frightened," said North Carolina Green Party co-chair Tony Ndege Thursday, ahead of the judge's ruling. "Both parties are worried there may be a break off" of some of their voting base.

What we're watching: National Democrats have already placed more of an emphasis on U.S. Senate races in other states over Beasley's race. With the possibility that the Green Party could splinter liberal votes, Democrats may ramp up spending in North Carolina, or pull back even more.

Catch up quick: After the Green Party submitted thousands of signatures in its petition to be recognized as a political party, the majority-Democrat state Board of Elections launched a criminal investigation into allegations that many of those signatures were fraudulent.

  • Democratic operatives then began calling signers, asking them to remove their names from the petition, WRAL reported.
  • Citing their ongoing investigation, the elections board voted not to certify the party ahead of a July 1 deadline to have the party added to the ballot.
  • Republicans blasted the ruling, saying a partisan elections board had gone too far and said in a court filing backing the Green Party that the decision disenfranchised thousands of North Carolina voters.

The latest: Last Monday, the board reversed its decision and unanimously voted to certify the Green Party. Since the deadline to certify had already passed, it was up to the judge to decide whether the party could be on the ballot.

  • Democrats sued one day later in hopes of keeping the party off the ballot.

Between the lines: The Green Party's most famous candidate was Ralph Nader, who snagged nearly 3% of the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election.

  • Nader didn't even appear on the North Carolina ballot that year because the Green Party didn't meet the petition requirement.
  • The Green Party's presidential candidate in the 2020 presidential election, Howie Hawkins, received just 0.22% of the vote.
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