By the Nevada Green Party
PO Box 2394, Pahrump, NV 89041 firstname.lastname@example.org / 775 298-6847
Dear Governor Steve Sisolak, Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, Nevada State Attorney General Aaron Ford:
As a “Minor Party” we face many uphill battles to collect and secure our petitioning and securing our ballot access. In preparation for the 2020 elections, just before the outbreak of the Covid 19 Pandemic, Nevada Green Party recently appointed Wes McCormick to the role of Ballot Access Coordinator to coordinate volunteers, campaigns, and ballot access efforts across the state.
We are confident we would be successful again and qualify for ballot access for all Green Party candidates in 2020 — were it not for the urgent, severe threat posed by COVID-19 this year that has made typical petitioning operations impossible.
Just as we were beginning to organize and coordinate how we would begin to obtain our goal of 10,000-15,000 signatures. Many public and private events began to be canceled prior to official government action. The CDC has recommended cancelation of public events and for people to practice social distancing for as long as it takes to slow the spread of the virus. In response, Governor Sisolak has issued several executive orders to attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, including a 30 day “stay-at-home” order which affects the entire State of Nevada. The first one dating back to March.
By law, the Green Party of Nevada is required to obtain a minimum of 9,764 petition signatures by June 5th for statewide elections, or by August 14th from registered voters to ensure the Presidential candidate is on the ballot as an independent. Due to potential voter registration and other validity problems, in practice Green Party members must collect a significantly greater number to ensure ballot access. This signature requirement as a result is much higher than the requirement for Democratic and Republican Party candidates, requiring Green Party members to potentially interact with tens of thousands of voters in order to collect the needed number of signatures.
To offset the higher requirements, Greens are allocated by law a much longer period of time to collect signatures. In 2020, petitioning for Green candidates was set by law between June 5, 2020 (statewide), and August 14, 2020(Presidential), the final date to file.
However, beginning in March public and private events which Green Party volunteers rely on to meet voters and collect signatures began canceling. By mid-March, state and federal guidance began encouraging more widespread event cancellation and social distancing, resulting in Governor Sisolak issuing a series of executing orders, including closing “non-essential” businesses by March 17. As a result, Green Party volunteers have had very little time to successfully petition, and many legislators are even considering switching to a mail-in vote to continue social distancing. The expectation is for COVID-19 action to continue into the summer. Under these circumstances, there is a strong possibility that the Green Party will be unable to petition in any realistic manner during the legally mandated petitioning period.
Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Governor and Executive and Legislative branches order the Department of State to take account of these radically changed circumstances and take immediate emergency action to honor the right of our political party and its candidates for President, Vice President, and U.S. Senate to appear on the General Election ballot.
We ask that the petition signature requirement for the statewide ballot be waived or suspended for the current election cycle for the Green Party of Nevada’s candidates, as well as other independent and third party candidates seeking ballot access. We would be supportive of other political bodies and independent candidates also being granted a waiver.
We also ask for similar relief for all Green Party candidates planning to petition to attain ballot status for state-level races in the General Assembly.
Some Other states, including Vermont and Illinois, have similarly suspended signature gathering in order to place candidates on the ballots.
We are happy to discuss the issue further and may be contacted via NVGreenParty@gmail. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Wes McCormick Ballot Access Coordinator, Thomas Rasmussen Nevada Green Party Co-Chair, James Stover Nevada Green Party Treasurer, Brendan Phillips Green Party of the US Ballot Access Committee Co-Chair, Green Party of the United States