The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
Last week, the state of Arizona delivered a sharp and terrible blow to the American republic. The Green Party will not be officially recognized by Arizona in the 2020 elections. According to Arizona law, at least 67 of every 10,000 Arizonan voters need to register for a political party for the state to recognize it. The Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties have all met this threshold. However, on Nov. 18, 2019, Arizonans learned that the Green Party (the fourth most popular political faction in America) will not be recognized as a valid political party in their state.
On Monday, Arizona’s Green Party fell short of the required 67 of 10,000. The Greens have around 6,406 registered members so about 17 of every 10,000 listed voters in Arizona identify with the Green Party. This number was low enough for the state to deem invalid the only party that fully supports the Green New Deal, universal health care, and a far less radical foreign policy. This small but outrageous action affects local, state and national politics in a myriad of negative ways.
Unrecognizing a political party throughout an entire state is detrimental to the American republic for numerous reasons, three of which are briefly described below.
First, it is undemocratic.
Democracy in its truest form is a government by the people. While America is a republic, the people chose their delegates to speak for them at all levels. How exactly can a government represent the people if a political party is left off the ballot?
Second, the unrecognition of a political party limits the choices registered voters have.
Next November, voters will not see Green Party candidates on their ballots when they go to the polls to vote.
However, they will see the Democratic, Libertarian and Republican candidates.
Third, the unrecognition of a political party limits dissent.
Increasingly, Americans are becoming disillusioned with the two-party system. Libertarians and Green Party members offer two vastly different political philosophies to aspiring voters. Many of these ideals are not held by the Democrats or Republicans. Thus, the invalidation of the Greens quiets people who stand out against the status quo. In essence, unrecognizing the Green Party makes the state of Arizona less democratic by limiting the options voters have access to.
A democratic society, especially one centered on the republican virtues of equality, transparency, and free elections should not place barriers between any political party and the ballot box.
It is shameful that Arizona will not have Green Party candidates on the November 2020 ballot merely because the party does not have as many supporters as demanded by the Democrat and Republican-controlled legislative branch. All Arizonans — conservative, liberal, moderate, radical or neither — should be in solidarity with the Green Party’s quest for equal access to the voting booth. This would be one giant step in ameliorating the faltering American political system. The more options voters have, the more democratic America becomes.
Richard J. Stocking holds a B.A. in history and political science from SUNY Cortland and an M.A. in History from SUNY Brockport. He currently teaches history and politics at Mammoth-San Manuel High School.