Voters in North Carolina are used to looking at their ballots and seeing just three letters – D for Democrat, R for Republican and L for Libertarian. Soon, they’ll start seeing a new one – the letter G. And local members of the Green Party couldn’t be more excited.
Last fall, a new law made it easier for so-called third parties to qualify for the ballot, but a dispute between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the Republican-controlled legislature resulted in a stalemate over the newly-created State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement that prevented the board from conducting any business until last just a few weeks ago. This week, word came from the board that the North Carolina Green Party had successfully qualified. Camille McCarthy is co-chair of the party’s Western North Carolina Chapter. “In the future when they print the new voter registration cards, they will actually have a box that you check that says ‘Green’ for your party affiliation.”
Other small parties like the right-leaning Constitution Party continue to push for ballot access. McCarthy says more choices are a good for democracy. “It’s just one step that makes it easier to have more choices on the ballot, and to get it out there that we have seen this two-party system for decades and decades, but there are other ways to run a government.”
She adds the major parties may not be as enthused. “I think other parties see us as a spoiler, but actually we have our own platform that’s very different from every other party. Those values that we have really separate us from both the Republicans and Democrats so we are really not stealing votes from other parties.”
Conventional wisdom says Democrats may end up losing votes to Greens - and among the first to welcome the Greens to the ballot – via press release – was the North Carolina Republican Party.