“Howie Hawkins is one name that appeared on ballots Tuesday. He was one of 62 co-founders of the first national Green organization in 1984.
Having supported various third parties since before he was of eligible voting age, Hawkins said one consequential challenge that comes with running under a lesser-known party is ballot access.
“The difficulty getting on the ballot in this country is more difficult than almost any other electoral democracy in the world,” Hawkins said. “And I would say that party suppression is part of voter suppression.”
Many citizens refuse to cast their ballot on Election Day because neither of the two major parties speak to their needs, Hawkins said, yet alternative candidates who might are often not offered as choices.
“So a lot of people that really support us vote Democrat to stop the Republicans,” Hawkins said. “That’s why one of our major issues is electoral reforms, like … a national popular ranked-choice vote so people can vote for what they want without fear of their worst enemy.”
A common critique of third parties and independents alike is that they pull crucial votes away from the major party their supporters most identify with. However, Hawkins said, third parties have historically driven tangible change as well.
“A lot of people say we’re spoiling the election,” Hawkins said. “I would argue we’re improving the election, because we’re bringing issues to the fore and putting on the table things that the major parties will not.”
Daily Free Press