Democrats bare-knuckle Green Party off North Carolina ballot

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A day after Connor Harney received anonymous text messages asking him to withdraw his signature from a petition to qualify Green Party candidates for the November ballot in North Carolina, he said pollsters identified presented their “attempts to interfere with democracy.” “At the door of his house.

A woman claiming to represent the State Board of Elections showed up at his home in Fuquay-Varina in late June, a checklist of street addresses in hand, and repeated the request, he said.

When Harney, a 31-year-old historian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, refused and questioned the woman’s affiliation, she left with a warning: If Green Party candidates gain access to the ballot, they could take away votes. to the Democrats and deliver the vote. Republican victories in close races, namely the Senate race between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Trump-backed Republican Rep. Ted Budd.

“I told him, ‘What you’re doing now makes the Democrats look very desperate,’” said Harney, a registered independent. “But more importantly, it goes against the democratic process because you’re actively trying to ensure that another party doesn’t get on the ballot.”

A dispute over the Green Party’s stalled effort to field a Senate candidate has exposed the Democratic Party’s naked efforts to prevent the progressive group from siphoning crucial votes in November.

The Democratic majority of the State Board of Elections rejected the request of the Green Party in a 3-2 vote on June 30, citing petition sheets with nearly identical handwriting, incomplete personal information, duplicate names and deceased signatories.

The Green Party then demanded as the board investigates the validity of their signatures, alleging Democratic interference in the petition process and asking the court to reverse the board’s decision.

Harney is one of more than a dozen signatories named in the lawsuit who reported receiving intimidating messages, calls or home visits.

These signers said that some pollsters refused to identify themselves or falsely claimed to represent the Green Party or the electoral board. Others said they were sent by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the driving force working to elect Beasley and other Democratic Senate candidates across the country.

With the Senate deadlocked 50-50, North Carolina is one of the few states where Democrats have great potential to win a seat, said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University. Despite the stakes, he found the Democrats’ tactics to be jaw-dropping.

“This is not business as usual,” Cooper said. “We hope that the political parties want to win, that is not the problem. It crosses the line when it seems that they resort to intimidation and, in some cases, to lies.”

Democrats acknowledge asking the signers to remove their names, but say they were simply trying to make sure potential supporters weren’t misled.

“We contacted voters to make sure they hadn’t been misled,” said DSCC spokeswoman Amanda Sherman.

Sherman said the DSCC is funneling $30 million to North Carolina and eight other Senate battleground states through its “Stand Up for the Majority” campaign, the largest investment in field organizing the committee has ever made this so early in the campaign cycle.

Although the Democrats had little success in dissuading progressive voters from backing the Green Party’s bid, their lawyers, including the Elias Law Group, general counsel for the DSCC, pressed the board to look into improprieties between the firms.

With its request rejected, the Green Party missed the July 1 deadline to nominate its candidates for the November ballot. Now, the party’s pick for Senate, Matthew Hoh, could only be brought forward by court order or legislative action from the General Assembly, which concluded its business session on July 1, elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon said.

The board will present the results of its fraud investigation on Monday, a week before the Green Party lawsuit has its first hearing on August 8.

Hoh campaign manager Rose Ruby said her uphill battle to get on the ballot shines a light on the many barriers facing third-party candidates across the country. She but she accepts Hoh’s role as a disrupter of the status quo and says the Democrats have only themselves to blame if the Greens “screw” their election.

“The spoiler tag is an anti-democratic characterization of what it means to have a healthy democracy,” Ruby said. “If the Democrats don’t want to fear that there will be a split in their vote, then it’s their job to win those votes and come up with the kind of policies that the Green Party is putting out.”


Schoenbaum is a staff member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues. follow her on

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