For immediate release: March 19, 2020
For more information:
Howie Hawkins, 315-200-6046, email@example.com
Kevin Zeese, 301-996-6582, firstname.lastname@example.org
Howie Hawkins’ Green Presidential Campaign Suspends Ballot Petitioning Due To COVID-19
Seeks Relief from States for Ballot Access
Howie Hawkins, a candidate for the Green presidential nomination, announced today that his campaign is asking its volunteers to suspend petitioning for state ballot lines in order to protect petitioners and the public from spreading infections of the COVID-19 virus.
The campaign will be working with the state and national Green parties to seek relief from state election officials from the petitioning requirements to qualify the party for the ballot.
“Given that public health officials are recommending social distancing to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we believe it is in the interest of democracy for the states to put the Green Party on the ballot without a physical petition,” Hawkins said. “We are now putting together a team of lawyers to help us make the case to the states that the Green Party should be on all the state ballots in the 2020 election.”
Hawkins said a top goal of his campaign has been to help the Green Party qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and DC in 2020.
US ballot access laws are far more restrictive that most other electoral democracies around the world. For independent or new party candidates to qualify for the ballot of national legislatures, it takes two signatures in New Zealand, 10 signatures in the United Kingdom, 50 signatures in Australia, 50 to 100 signatures in Canada, and 200 signatures in Germany. In most US states, it takes thousands or tens of thousands of signatures to qualify independent or new party congressional candidates for the ballot.
Hawkins said he was concerned that the coronavirus emergency could lead to further restrictions on democracy. “Emergencies often lead to curtailments of civil liberties, open government, and democracy. We need to be extra vigilant to protect democracy at this time,” Hawkins said.
Ballot petitioning has already been suspended in New York as of 5 pm, March 17 by an Executive Order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Green Party is currently qualified for the ballot in 20 states and the District of Columbia. It was in the process of petitioning to qualify for the other 30 states.
The Green Party presidential candidate has been on the ballot of the majority of states in every presidential election since 1996. In 2016, the Green presidential ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka was on the ballot in 45 states and qualified for write-in votes in three additional states.
Hawkins is a retired Teamster from Syracuse, New York. He is leading in the race for the Green Party presidential nomination in the state primaries, caucuses, and conventions held to date. He was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010 in the first of his three campaigns for New York governor in which he came in third among five to seven candidates and received enough votes to qualify the Green Party for a ballot line for the next four-year election cycle.
Hawkins’ campaign platform features policies to address what he calls the life or death issues of climate, inequality, and nuclear weapons. He calls for a full-strength Green New Deal to address the climate crisis, an Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and reduce the growing inequality that has led to declining working class life expectancies, and Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives to reverse the new nuclear arms race. He also focuses on replacing the Electoral College with a ranked-choice national popular vote to elect the president in order to end the spoiler problem and elect a president who receives a majority of votes.
“These policies won’t be debated if the Green Party is not on the ballot,” Hawkins said.