By David Larson
The N.C. Green Party has filed an emergency motion in federal court in its bid to gain access to the state’s election ballot this year.
The motion contends that the N.C. State Board of Elections has failed to provide a legal reason for excluding Greens from the ballot. The group seeks a preliminary injunction. It would force the elections board to recognize the Green Party and place its candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“It has been 51 days, and counting, since NCGP timely filed its petitions with NCSBE, and NCSBE still has not certified NCGP as a new party, which it is required to do ‘forthwith,’” according to the Green Party motion.
“NCSBE has cited no legal authority for its failure to certify NCGP as a new political party,” the motion added. “NCSBE has cited no applicable statutory provision, regulation, or other legal requirement with which NCGP failed to comply. On the contrary, NCSBE concedes that when it voted not to certify NCGP, county boards of elections had validated 15,953 signatures on NCGP’s petitions – 2,088 more than the 13,865 valid signatures required under state law.”
“Thus far, the only explanation NCSBE has given for its failure to certify NCGP comes from its Chair, Defendant [Damon] Circosta, who stated that he had too many ‘questions’ to vote in favor of certification, because NCSBE staff claim to be investigating ‘irregularities’ in the NCGP petitions,” the motion continued.
“NCSBE has never produced evidence of any ‘irregularities’ in NCGP’s petitions to NCGP, nor has it provided NCGP with any opportunity to defend the validity of the signatures on its petitions or the integrity of its petitioning process,” according to the motion.
“Yet NCSBE appears to have undertaken a wide-ranging investigation into NCGP’s petitions, pursuant to which a team of NCSBE investigators has contacted NCGP’s petition circulators by telephone and email to request information about virtually every aspect of their petitioning efforts,” the Green Party asserted. “NCGP has fully and voluntarily cooperated with NCSBE, promptly providing all information and every record requested by NCSBE’s investigators. Further, NCGP has repeatedly requested the opportunity to meet with NCSBE to review its petitions and resolve any questions regarding particular signatures, but NCSBE has rebuffed NCGP each time.”
The Green Party argued that the state elections board “continues to invalidate NCGP petition signatures that county boards of elections validated.” That process has removed 127 signatures to date, and “That number continues to drop each day.”
The motion noted the involvement of Michael Vincent Abucewicz, “who appears to be a field operative of the North Carolina Democratic Party,” in the campaign to keep the Green Party off the ballot. The Greens allege a “concerted campaign by Democratic Party operatives to contact NCGP petition signers and convince them to request that their names be removed from NCGP’s petitions.”
“Thus, there is documented evidence of fraud in this case – Plaintiffs have audio and video recordings proving it, which they are prepared to submit – but it was perpetrated by Democratic Party operatives seeking to gain political advantage in the 2022 general election, not by NCGP,” according to the motion.
The Green Party initially filed suit on July 14. The party’s U.S. Senate candidate, Matthew Hoh, discussed his concerns about the state elections board’s actions in a one-on-one interview with Carolina Journal.
A hearing on the Green Party complaint is scheduled Aug. 8 in Raleigh before U.S. District Judge James Dever.