Eliminating straight-party voting will be a step toward ending the two-party duopoly that controls North Carolina’s electoral process and discriminates against alternative parties and independent candidates, a spokesman for Free the Vote North Carolina said in a statement today.
“The straight-party voting system tends to perpetuate this cycle of individuals going to the polls and casting votes based simply on party label in the hopes of voting for someone that shares their common values,” said Jordon Greene, founder and president of Free the Vote NC.
Two bills ending straight-party voting have been introduced in the General Assembly. Free the Votes opposes one, HB185 and supports the other, SB82.
“Straight-party voting encourages uneducated voting and demeans the value of the individual’s vote,” Greene said. “The manner in which the device is used in North Carolina also is confusing to voters, since it doesn’t apply to the presidential race.”
The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld North Carolina’s restrictive ballot access rules for unaffiliated Congressional candidates. In October, the court ruled in Bryan Greene v. Gary Bartlett that requiring unaffiliated candidates to collect signatures from four percent of the registered voters in the district was Constitutional. This equals about 20,000 signatures in the typical district.
Greene, who attempted to collect signatures to run for Congressional District 10 in 2008, argued that N.C. law severely burdens independent candidates and violates the rights guaranteed in both the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs in the case include Bryan E. Greene, his son Jordon M. Greene, Todd Meister, and intervenor Bradely D. Smith.
Gov. Beverly Perdue’s comment about suspending elections was completely out of place and indefensible and she should apologize, said Jordon M. Green, an independent candidate for the state House district 87. “Whether or not she was joking or using a hyperbole matters little in this case,” he said. “To make such statements, even if in the context of a joke, which in itself is unlikely at best, is at the least unthinking.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, Jordon M. Greene is running for elective office as an unaffiliated candidate. Greene recently announced his candidacy for state House District 87, covering Caldwell County.
“I’m running for N.C. House because you deserve a representative in Raleigh that values the liberty of each citizen equally and respects the diversity of views and opinions held by his constituents while holding firm to his own values,” Greene said in his campaign announcement. “I’m a concerned citizen who simply cannot stand by when liberty is at stake.”
Greene was campaign manager for his father Bryan’s unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress as an unaffiliated candidate in 2008. The elder Greene failed to collect the 16,457 signatures needed under North Carolina’s highly restrictive ballot access laws.
The young Greene said he’s running as an unaffiliated candidate because the party he’s chosen to join, the Constitution Party, is not allowed on the ballot. “North Carolina’s ballot access laws unduly regulate and, in the end, violate my freedom of association by keeping my party off the ballot with overly restrictive signatures requirements unparalleled in most states,” he said.