The Green Party is now recognized as a third party in Connecticut and is guaranteed to be on the next presidential election ballot, after receiving 1.39 percent of votes cast in the state on Nov. 8.
The Connecticut Secretary of State website defines a minor party (a third party) as a “a political party or organization which is not a major party and whose candidate for the office in question received at the last-preceding regular election for such office, under the designation of that political party or organization, at least one percent of the whole number of votes cast for all candidates for such office at such election.”
The Green Party, however, will still have to collect signatures for candidates at the local and state level, said Jonathan Pelto, who ran this year to represent Connecticut’s second district in Congress under the Green Party ticket and received 1.61 percent of votes cast, according to the Connecticut Secretary of state.
“Our main goal is state government. We want to build an active third party and offer a choice for people who don’t affiliate themselves as either Republican or Democrat,” Pelto said.
Before the Green Party was recognized as a third party, the campaign’s main goal was to obtain petition signatures. For the 2016 election they collected more than 15,000 signatures.
For a new party that is not recognized as a minor party to be on the ballot, it must fill out a nominating petition and start collecting signatures on the year of the election and are both due 90 days before the election to the town clerk they were circulated in according to the Office of the Secretary, Ballot Access.
The minimum number of signatures required is 7,500.
Pelto said this is an expensive and long process. They won’t have to do that for the 2020 presidential election. But they will have to do it for local and state elections in 2017 and 2018.
Pelto said the Green Party offers a choice to voters who aren’t convinced by either of the two major party candidates and will bring in voters who normally wouldn’t vote.
“I definitely think that it will give young people or people who are not in the mainstream a voice,” Pelto said.
The United States has one the lowest voter turnouts among the world’s democracies, Pelto said. About half of the eligible voters are registered and only half of those vote.
In 2012, The United States had a turnout of 53.6 percent based on 129.1 million votes cast and estimated voter population of under 24 million people according to data from the Pew Research Center.
“This election was very divisive and it had the two least liked candidates of any presidential race so people were stuck choosing between the lesser of two evils,” Pelto said.
Pelto noted that other democracies around the world have multiple viable parties, but it’s not a familiar concept for Americans.
The Eastern Connecticut Green Party will have their first post-election meeting this weekend where they will discuss the local elections for next year.
Pelto said in order for the Green Party to be an active third Party in Connecticut and gain support, they need to be more active during the local and state elections in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.