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Arizona Green Party sues to kick its own candidates off the ballot

Just when you think you’ve seen it all

The state Democratic Party is alleging possible voter fraud in what it called a scheme to undermine its candidates by recruiting “sham” Green Party hopefuls.

In a complaint filed late Monday, the party seeks an investigation by federal, state and county law-enforcement officials.

The complaint names Rep. Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix; Steve May, a Republican candidate for the Legislature; and a House Republican staffer as complicit in an effort to register at least a half-dozen people as Green Party members so they could run as write-in candidates in last week’s primary election.

Republicans accused of the ploy denied any wrongdoing.

Under state election law, it only takes one write-in vote for a person to qualify as a Green candidate on the Nov. 2 general-election ballot.

The newly minted Green candidates have been disavowed by the Arizona Green Party and are running in races in which Democrats are believed to be competitive. Those races include secretary of state, treasurer, Arizona Corporation Commission and several legislative contests in swing districts.

If you’re thinking that law sounds a bit fishy, it’s the reason why the Green Party has sided with the Democrats on this. Here’s their statement.

Today’s lawsuit requests the invalidation of a statute which creates a separate but unequal category of political party, that applies only to the Arizona Green Party, in a way that mocks our substantial and consistent efforts for two decades, against unreasonable barriers, to provide the voters of Arizona with meaningful alternatives to politics as usual

Anyone can run for office in the Party of their choosing, if they get enough signatures to show a decent level of support within the Party. Or they can run as a write-in candidate, and get the same number of write-in votes . The signatures or votes of party members is the “permission” that the party gives for them to be our candidates . Or, at least, that is the way that it is for other political parties. But ARS 16-645 creates a special category of political party, that only the Green Party fits into, where an individual doesn’t have to get permission or support from anybody else in the party. They can wait til the last minute to sign up as a write-in, and vote for themselves in the primary, and they get their name listed on the general election ballot as a Green Party candidate.

We want the ref to blow the whistle. We in the Arizona Green Party want our team to play by the same rules as other teams, and not have somebody in the stands deciding to be a player on our team. And especially not have our opponents recruiting field-rushers, handing them a uniform, and sending them out to disrupt a fair game.

So we are going to court, demanding the fairness that the US Constitution grants us, and putting a stop to sham candidates and special rules. Because we already HAVE a team, of real candidates, endorsed by us, who followed the rules, and gathered their signatures twice already– once from the general public to be a recognized political party, and a second time from party members, to show that Greens support their candidacy, and support the message they will be running on, in trying to offer the public new and better ideas than they can find elsewhere. Or old, forgotten ideas, like fair-play and Constitutional rights.

According to Newsweek, the last-minute candidates include the roommate of one of Rep. Weier’s daughters, “a tarot-card reader, and several drifters who hang out on Mill Avenue in Phoenix”. I love this quote:

Joe Yuhas, a partner in the Riester political-consulting firm, spent years in elected office in New Jersey in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s before moving to Arizona. He says that, when it comes to political shenanigans in Arizona, “the boldness is staggering.” His firm, he says, will soon launch a Web site to detail the abuses, and adds, “For a guy who cut his teeth in New Jersey politics and thought had seen it all, I’m astounded. The depth and breadth of it makes New Jersey races look like student-council elections.”

I dunno, some of those student council races can be pretty cutthroat. But point taken nonetheless. Local Texans has more.

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