Greens fighting to be heard in Special Election Assembly race; New rules meant to keep Green Party candidates off ballot
GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS RELEASE
SACRAMENTO (Jan 26, 2011) - A potential Green Party candidate in an Assembly special election said today he is considering a lawsuit after he and at least one other potential candidate were prevented from running in the election because there was an extremely short time period - only two days after Gov. Brown declared the special election - and a unusually large number of signatures needed to qualify.
Gary Blenner, a registered Green Party member, former Center Unified School District board trustee and teacher at Rio Americano High School, said the time limits made it impossible for him to run for the seat as planned.
He said he and other rejected candidates are considering a lawsuit.
"It was barely 48 hours from the time Gov. Brown called the Special Election until the time signatures were due. When I inquired about filing my candidacy the next day, I was told the only way to file was by paying an outrageously high filing fee," said Blenner.
"There was no way anyone without a huge campaign war chest can participate in our so-called democracy under these conditions. It severely limits the choices for voters," he added.
Election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News confirmed that nine federal courts have ruled, during the last 30 years, that states cannot force candidates to complete ballot access petitions in tiny amounts of time.
Further, he said, smaller parties previously have had to only collect a maximum of 150 signatures, not 1,500 under new rules.
"California elections officials have been careless and inconsiderate of the rights of candidates and voters by assuming they can force candidates in special elections to complete hefty petitions for themselves in less than a week," said Winger.
Daniel Frederick, Peace and Freedom Party nominee for State Assembly from District 4 in 2010, also said he was turned down when he tried to run because he could not collect the 1,500 signatures.
The Green Party of California