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North Carolina Green Party election experts denounced that groups associated with the Democratic Party made efforts to prevent their groupings from obtaining a place on the ballot for the upcoming midterms, with the intervention of a powerful law firm related to the governing party and using “aggressive” tactics.
The state board of elections voted 3-2 last Thursday, July 7, to deny certification of the Green Party for the November midterms, citing the possible fraudulent gathering of more than 2,000 signatures. All Democrats on the Board voted against certification.
A Carolina Journal report indicated that the Democrats “bullied, harassed and lied” to their supporters into withdrawing signatures from the certification petition.
According to a report by local media outlet The News & Observer, The Elias Group, a Washington-based law firm with ties to top Democratic politicians, submitted at least three letters to the state board and four complaints to county boards asking that hundreds of signatures be discarded from the Green Party petition drive.
The firm’s founder, Marc Elias, served as general counsel to both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton in the past.
The letter, sent to the boards on June 28, cites missing signatures, signatures written in the same handwriting multiple times, signatures of voters not registered in the county where they were supposed to vote, and signatures on petition sheets that did not accurately include the name of the proposed party chairman.
“The Board should refrain from determining the sufficiency of the Green Party’s submission until it is able to assure itself and the public that the Green Party’s petitions contain valid signatures that were obtained in compliance with the law,” read the letter, quoted by the local media, which was signed by Michael Vincent Abucewicz, who has worked for North Carolina Democrats, along with his attorney, Jacquelyn Lopez, a partner at The Elias Group.
According to the report, the letter accused the Green Party of attempting to “obfuscate the purpose and intent of their party” by providing general guidelines on how to request signatures properly.
A political analyst at the John Locke Foundation, Mitch Kokai, told the Daily Caller that Marc Elias’ law firm is part of a Democratic “electoral operation” aimed to “block Republican voting maps and election integrity measures” and said the tactics are “downright despicable.”
“They fear the Green Party offers a preferable alternative to too many people who otherwise vote Democrat by default. Allowing the Green Party to have access to the ballot would hurt Democrats’ ability to win votes from lukewarm supporters.”
Green Party’s version suggests deceptive Democratic Party tactics
The Green Party’s version of the alleged signature gathering irregularities is radically different from that of the Democratic lawyers.
According to its Senate candidate, Matthew Hoh, the group has received complaints from at least 20 voters who signed North Carolina Green Party petitions, who said they had received calls, text messages, and in-person visits to their homes from Democratic staffers trying to “aggressively” force them to remove their signatures from the petitions.
“What we’re dealing with here is, in my opinion, a pretty blatant effort to keep us off the ballot just to protect the two-party system,” Hoh told The News & Observer.
Hoh also went public with his complaint on his Twitter account, where he posted screenshots of text messages in which a purported representative of the Democratic campaign committee asked him to remove his name from the petition, arguing that his candidacy could benefit Republicans.
Separately, Carolina Journal obtained a recording of a phone call in which a person claiming to be a representative of the Green Party asked its co-chairman, Tony Ndedge, to remove his name from the rolls.
“If you’re with the Green Party, why are you asking to remove?” said Ndedge before the call was cut off.
One of the attempts was caught on video and published by The News & Observer. In the footage, a woman who identifies as a Democratic Party staffer in North Carolina can be seen asking a voter to remove the signature from the petition since it would negatively affect Democratic candidates and benefit Republicans in November and 2024.
While North Carolina requires new parties to obtain 13,865 signatures to be certified, the Green Party submitted more than 22,000 signatures in its petition drive, of which county boards of elections validated nearly 16,000.
The certified figure gives the party a 2,000 signature advantage. Even if all of the signatures that the Elias Group objected to or had removed were disqualified, the Green Party could still be certified for nearly 1,700 valid signatures.
Tomás Lugo, journalist and writer. Born in Venezuela and graduated in Social Communication. Has written for international media outlets. Currently living in Colombia // Tomás Lugo, periodista y articulista. Nacido en Venezuela y graduado en Comunicación Social. Ha escrito para medios internacionales. Actualmente reside en Colombia.