Green Party Says that Opportunity to Ballot Primaries Are Unconstitutional

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 14, 2012

Contact: Peter LaVenia

The Green Party said today that it would ask the Board of Elections to reject any candidates not enrolled in the Green Party who won in a series of opportunity to ballot write-in campaigns yesterday for their ballot line. Several such primaries took place yesterday across the state, (e.g., Senate District 40 and 46). The Green Party’s rules prohibit individuals enrolled in other ballot qualified parties from appearing on the Green line. The Democrats and Republicans however have written the state election law to allow non-party members to win the ballot line of other parties without their permission by petitioning for a write-in primary. The Green Party asserts that this law violates their constitutional first amendment right to freedom of association to determine who represents their party.. According to Richard Winger, editor of the national Ballot Access News, prior court decisions strongly support the right of the Green Party to prevent opportunities to ballot (e.g., California Democratic Party v Jones (2000) and New York State Board of Elections v Lopez Torres (2008). “We don’t want voters fooled into voting for candidates that have stolen the Green Party line. Unlike other third parties such as Working Families, we are not interested in being an appendage of the two corporate parties who do the bidding of the 1%. We only want to field candidates who are accountable to the working class and middle class majority and reflect our values and vision for a green world.”,” said co-chair Peter LaVenia.

[Note: Peter Lavenia is also the Green Party candidate for NY State Senate in the 44th SD. Information about his campaign can be found on our candidates page.]


Posted on September 16, 2012, in General Posting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Although I am absolutely OUTRAGED BY THE BULLYING AND HIJACKING that the major parties are attempting against the Green Party line in primary races in multiple districts in NY State, it is nevertheless totally perplexing to me how Richard Winger
    and the Green Party of NY State can cite Lopez Torrez in support of an argument about the UNCONSTITUTIONALITY of Opportunity to Ballot primaries in NY State. That case (1) had nothing to do with Opportunity to Ballot primaries; and (2) the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in the Lopez Torrez case tends strongly to go against the notion that there would be any First Amendment associational right to choose candidates by a political party in a primary election, whether OTB or not:

    “A nearly unanimous court in “Lopez Torres” overruled the Second Circuit and upheld the constitutionality of New York’s judicial election system. The Court explained that although a political party has a First Amendment associational right to choose its candidates, that right is circumscribed when the party is given a role in the state’s election process. Parties that are formally involved in the election process, for example, may be required to comply with a primary process and may be prohibited from maintaining racially discriminatory policies (which could become impermissible state action).

    “However, the Court explained, the political parties’ associational rights were not at issue in the case; rather, the “weapon wielded by these plaintiffs is their own claimed associational right not only to join, but to have a certain degree of influence in, the party.”[5] In refusing to acknowledge the existence of such a right, the Court explained that nothing in the law prohibited the candidates from attending the convention and lobbying the delegates, and nothing in the law compelled the delegates to vote for their parties’ preferred candidates. As the Court explained, “Our cases invalidating ballot-access requirements have focused on the requirements themselves, and not on the manner in which political actors function under those requirements. . . . None of our cases establishes an individual’s constitutional right to have a ‘fair shot’ at winning the party’s nomination.””

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