National GOP group supports Greens’ bid for ballot access

Carolina Journal photo by Mitch Kokai

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  • A national Republican group is urging the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject Democrats' request to keep the Green Party off the N.C. ballot.
  • The GOP group argues that only the N.C. State Board of Elections could appeal a lower court order ensuring Greens' ballot access.

A national Republican group working to help elect Ted Budd to the U.S. Senate is urging the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject Democrats’ efforts to keep the Green Party off North Carolina’s election ballot.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a motion Thursday in Richmond to submit a friend-of-the-court brief. The brief opposes Democrats’ arguments against the Greens.

U.S. District Judge James Dever ruled on Aug. 5 that North Carolina’s July 1 candidate filing deadline would not apply to two Green Party candidates, including U.S Senate candidate Matthew Hoh. Dever reached that ruling after the N.C. State Board of Elections agreed to recognize the Green Party on Aug. 1, one month after the candidate deadline. Greens had submitted petition signatures required by state law in mid-May.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and N.C. Democratic Party are intervening in the Greens’ federal lawsuit against the state elections board. The Democratic groups urge the Appeals Court to block Dever’s order.

“[T]he NRSC has a special interest in this case, and the NRSC’s amicus brief will be useful to the Court because it identifies Fourth Circuit precedent that instructs that the Intervenors lack standing to bring this appeal,” according to the Republicans’ brief.

“This case directly implicates the NRSC’s interest in ensuring that (1) the North Carolina senatorial ballot includes all qualified candidates, (2) North Carolina enforces its voting laws consistently and not arbitrarily, and (3) the NRSC’s campaign resources are not adversely affected through politically motivated state action,” the brief added. “The record below contains significant evidence indicating that Intervenors believe that excluding the Green Party from the general election ballot in 2022 will boost the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects, to the detriment of the Republican Party and the NRSC’s efforts to support Republican candidates. Accordingly, the NRSC has an interest in ensuring that qualified Green Party candidates are not categorically excluded from the ballot.”

Only the state elections board could appeal Dever’s order involving the Green Party, Republicans argued. “The Intervenors lack standing to appeal an injunction that, by its terms, only applies to the Board Defendants, none of whom have joined this appeal,” according to the Republican brief. “A party invoking a Court’s appellate jurisdiction must demonstrate standing to appeal.”

Time is running out for a decision about the appearance of Green Party candidates on the N.C. ballot. The state elections board has said it needs ballots finalized for printing on Friday. That deadline is linked to a Sept. 9 deadline for absentee ballot distribution.

If Hoh is able to take part in the U.S. Senate race, he would join Budd, Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, and Libertarian Shannon Bray.