The ballot for the North Carolina General Election in November may become a little more crowded if a U.S. Senate third-party candidate’s approval to appear on the ballot is granted.
Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh said on his Twitter account on June 8 that his campaign has turned in over 22,000 signatures of which 16,000 were verified. The state’s requirement is 13,865.
According to Patrick Gannon, public information director for the N.C. State Board of Elections, the board won’t know for sure how many valid signatures they received until a review by the State Board and county boards of elections is completed by the end of June. Once the review is complete, a meeting of the State Board of Elections will be scheduled to consider the recognition of the party.
A political party can be recognized in the state if it meets one of three criteria. The Green Party chose the option of filing petitions with signatures from 0.25% of all voters in the most recent election for governor, with at least 200 registered voters from each of 3 N.C. congressional districts. Alternatively, a party’s candidate for governor in the most recent state election qualifies by winning at least 2% of the total vote. Lastly, a party can qualify if it was recognized in 70% of all states in the preceding presidential election.
If Hoh is certified by the NCSBE, a state party convention announcing the nomination would also have to take place before July 1 for Hoh to appear on the ballot in November, along with Republican U.S. Congressman Ted Budd, Democrat Cheri Beasley, and Libertarian Shannon Bray, who are vying for the seat of the retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.
The North Carolina Green Party bills itself as an anti-racist, feminist political party that supports gender equality and gender diversity and rejects capitalism in favor of a democratically run economy that responds to the needs of the community and planet.
According to his campaign website, Hoh, of Wake Forest, served in the U.S. Marines and worked at the State Department until resigning in 2009 in protest over what he calls “the American escalation of war.” He supports abortion rights, universal health care, legalizing all forms of narcotics, housing as a human right, abolishing the Electoral College, term limits for members of Congress, and giving control of police forces to the communities they serve, including hiring, firing, and disciplinary action, not only for the officers themselves, but would also include councils, mayors, county commissioners, district attorneys, and other officials for the policies they create and implement, among other progressive ideas.
The Green Party was officially recognized in the state in 2018 after the General Assembly voted to lower the qualification requirements for a party to appear on the ballot. The party lost its recognition in 2021 after failing to turn out 2% of the vote for gubernatorial or presidential candidates in the 2020 general election. It has never won a major election in North Carolina.
What impact will Hoh have on the other candidates if he is certified to be on the ballot?
“The Green Party’s impact on the 2022 election will be minimal,” said Andy Jackson, director of the John Locke Foundation’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity. “Their presidential candidate got less than one-half of one percent of the vote in North Carolina in 2020 (0.22%) and they did not even nominate a candidate for governor or any other office in the Council of State. The weak performance of their candidates is why they lost their official party status in North Carolina after the 2020 election.”
Jackson said the party will be the strongest in progressive areas such as Durham and Asheville and will mainly pull votes from Democrats in those areas. But Democrats have such a strong advantage in those areas that Green Party candidates will not win enough votes to act as spoilers and help Republicans win there.
He added that the Green Party will almost certainly cost Democrats fewer votes than the Libertarian Party costs Republicans, and that research has found that Libertarians pull about twice as many votes from Republicans as they do from Democrats.