Exclusion Of Candidates Violates Rights Of Voters

| Educate!

Green Party candidates have been excluded from debates and polls across the country by news media and polling criteria that favor Democratic and Republican candidates. Exclusion means Green Party candidates cannot make their case to undecided voters or try to sway decided ones, which is especially crucial in races that determine ballot status. High numbers of undecided voters are a wild card in many races this year and may lead to some “Green” surprises on election day.

Constance Gadell-Newton, candidate for Governor of Ohio, was excluded from three Ohio Debate Commission debates cosponsored by the League of Women Voters because she didn’t poll 10%. Gadell-Newton, who is the only woman in the governor’s race, was not listed by name in the polls taken just before the last debate. For example, in the Baldwin Wallace University poll, only the Democratic and Republican candidates were listed, with “undecided” voters polling at 21%. Three percent is required for ballot status.

This was also the case in the Morning Consult poll, with “Don’t Know/No Opinion” at 23%. In Gadell-Newton’s video statement on the exclusion, she commented, “This kind of exclusion is doing a disservice to voters. The people deserve to hear from all the candidates who will be on the ballot. It’s the people who should decide who’s the best candidate in this race, not the media or the Debate Commission.”

Angel Torres, candidate for Governor of Arizona, was included in the September 24 Arizona PBS debate but excluded from the September 25 Arizona Public Media debate. The exclusion was because he didn’t poll 7%, but the polls leading up to the debate didn’t list his name. For example, in an Emerson College poll, 6% supported “Someone else” and 14% were undecided. In a Marist poll taken before the debate and published afterwards that listed his name, Torres got 7% among registered voters, “Other” got 1%, and undecided went down to 7%. Five percent is required for ballot status.

Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, was excluded from the October 6 WPXI-TV debate, which included only two of the four candidates and excluded both women candidates. A recent Franklin & Marshall College Poll in the governor’s race showed 18% undecided. Bowser-Bostick decribed the exclusion as “unreasonable, biased and a disservice to democracy” in her statement about the debate.

Green Party candidates have also been excluded from debates in federal races

Diane Moxley, candidate for U.S. Congress in the 7th District in New Jersey, was excluded from the September 21 News 12 debate and has been excluded from the NJTV debate scheduled for October 17. A Monmouth University poll that did not list her by name showed 2% for “Other” and 12% undecided. Moxley said, “Legitimate candidates in numerous races across the country are excluded from polls and denied participation in debates because they are arbitrarily labeled nonviable candidates. This is the outcome of a rigged system which denies these candidates access to the very means of establishing viability. Here in New Jersey, I have not been included in the polls and it is the polls that are looked at to get into the debates. This is a catch-22 that peripheralizes alternative views and secures an electoral monopoly for the corporate-funded mainstream parties.”

Madelyn Hoffman, candidate for U.S. Senate from New Jersey running against incumbent Bob Menendez, has been excluded from a NJTV debate scheduled for October 24. A Quinnipiac University poll that did not list her by nameshowed 5% as undecided, but 13% who chose the Democratic or Republican candidate said they could change their mind by election day. An earlier poll showed much higher numbers of undecided voters – 27% overall, with 36% for ages 18-29, 34% for ages 30-49 and 30% for women. Hoffman said, “Public opinion polls like these are skewed because they don’t list the names of all the candidates. It’s important for voters to know the names of all ballot-qualified candidates and how they are polling in order to encourage the highest level of democracy and to inform the voters of all of their choices. This could affect the choices voters make on Election Day. It’s also important for the candidates to see how voters are responding to their extremely serious and high-energy campaigns.”

Paula Overby, candidate for U.S. Senate from Minnesota, was excluded from the Minnesota Public Radio debate held August 24. MPR told callers that Overby was not included because she is not a major party candidate. Five percent is required for major party status for the Minnesota Green Party. A Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News poll showed 4% for “Other” (including Overby at 1%) and 6% undecided.

Additional links:

Green-Rainbow Candidate, Jamie Guerin, Barred from Participating in WGBH Debate for State Treasurer

Michigan gubernatorial debates exclude 4 ballot-qualified candidates

Debates Should Be a Required Part of the Campaign Process, by Andy Ellis 
Green Party candidate running with Glenn Ross for the Maryland House of Delegates, District 45) 

Libertarian Voter Registration Surges, but Debates Still Exclude Candidates

Libertarian Mark Tippetts Excluded from TX Governor Debate, Despite Top-3 Polling

  • Laura Wells

    The League of Women Voters held a candidate forum at Oakland City Hall with both CA-District 13 Congressional candidates: Democrat Barbara Lee and Green Candidate Laura Wells (me). While it was a 30-minute forum, not a full-fledged debate, still I hope this inspires other events across the country for federal races, as well as state and local.

  • kevinzeese

    Congratulations. It is rare for Greens to be included in debates. I hope the campaign is treating you well.

  • jemcgloin

    If the left worked together to fight these abuses, instead of going around telling everyone not to vote, we could win elections and make the world a better place.

    The Hassidim in Brooklyn have immense political power because they vote as a block.
    The left has little political power because it does not vote.
    Assuming that voting is a waste of time based on flimsy evidence is not a strategy. It is a cop out.
    Take the government away from the fascists, before it is to late.

  • kevinzeese

    I don’t hear a lot of people saying don’t vote. I do hear people saying ‘voting is not enough.’ And, I hear people saying both the blue team and red team represent the wealthy not the people. I always vote, but have not voted red or blue in more than 25 years. I’ve never regretted a vote because I vote for what I want, not based on the fear the media and corporate parties push on people. Voting for what you don’t want is misusing your vote.

  • Joe Manchik

    The crooked Ohio Debate Commission and the crooked City Club of Cleveland both colluded to specifically exclude the Green Party
    and Libertarian Party candidates from the three televised Governor’s
    Debates in Ohio. In an attempt to make themselves appear to be somewhat
    better, these two crooked organizations organized another debate that
    was only broadcast on YouTube. Unfortunately, the three corporate owned
    candidates from the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and
    Libertarian Party failed to show up for this debate, so they simply
    presented an interview with Green Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor Constance Gadell-Newton and Brett Joseph today. This is the link where you can watch the interview and it begins at 4:20 also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS3DPTCI6GA&feature=youtu.be&t=261

  • Joe Manchik
  • Laura, glad you had this opportunity. In NJ we’ve had to create our own events then invite all candidates to participate. We had a forum last Sunday on Imperialism with our Green Party candidates and two independents. Of course dem or rep were no shows. In fact, they didn’t even respond to invite.

  • Also, thank you PR for your coverage of Diane and Madelyn.

  • mwildfire

    But I hate that a candidate like Wells is “wasted” on a race against one of the most progressive incumbents! Of course that’s the only place they have a chance to win but it’s a shame we can’t get both in.

  • mwildfire

    I think voting is basically a waste of time as the odds that it can lead to positive change are so low. But not zero, and how much time does one waste in voting? Twenty minutes or so, every other year? I almost never contribute money or time to a candidate but i always vote.

  • Jon

    Hmmm, How about showing up with a bunch of mannikens to demonstrate the point?

  • Jon

    What we need to recognize is that voting (often for a legitimately lesser evil) is always at best an interim project, far from the objective we wish to accomplish. Often it is a merely holding action against the worsening conditions, but one necessary for humanitarian reasons. Vote, but without illusions.

  • Michael Robbins

    The problem with allowing non-viable 3rd party candidates onto a debate stage with actual viable candidates, is they are free to say whatever they want because they have nothing to lose. They know they can’t win, which allows them the freedom to make asses of themselves without fear of consequences.

    In the specific case of Greens, their target audience are not voters who support unrestricted gun rights, anti-immigration law, lower corporate taxes, charter schools, anti-gay and pro-life positions, so they are not going to pander to sway Republicans. Instead, their sole purpose is to sway progressives away from the Democratic Party by attacking them from the left, falsely comparing the two major parties as “the lesser of two evils”. What this does in effect is allow two candidates to attack the Democratic candidate from the far right and far left simultaneously. The net effect is to keep Republicans in power.

    Also, the Green Party does not vet their candidates, as is the case in AZ, where someone named Angela Green is running as a Green write-in for the US Senate. This woman has ZERO history with the Green Party, ZERO political experience, and is most likely a Republican plant, meant to take votes away from the Democratic candidate in a closely contested race. The Green Party US is so desperate for ANYONE to run as a Green, they really don’t care if the Republican Party is sponsoring their candidacy just to attack their opponents from the left.

    After 30+ yrs here in the USA, the Green Party has accomplished only two wins at the national level. They he helped to get GW Bush elected in 2000 and Donald Trump elected in 2016. In effect, their agenda is VERY anti-progressive.

  • Michael Robbins

    Let’s look at history. Jill Stein ran for president in 2010 and again in 2016. She had plenty of media exposure on all of the prime media outlets, including Fox News, yet only 1% of the voting public agreed with her. On the other hand, a self-avowed sex predator and known grifter received 62 million more votes than her. Hillary Clinton received 3 million more votes than the sex predator & grifter. Collectively, 96% of the voting American public overwhelmingly rejected the communist platform of the Green Party. It speaks VOLUMES about a candidates viability when a sex predator and grifter get 62 million more votes than they do.

  • chetdude


    380,000 DEMOCRATS voted for g.w.bush in 2000. Hundreds of thousands of folks who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 either stayed home or voted for Trump…

    Democrat collusion with the republicans caused that, NOT the Green Party or its candidates…


    THIS is our agenda:

    Green Party Ten Key Values

    Grassroots Democracy

    Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. Therefore we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

    Ecological Wisdom

    Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society that utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must have agricultural practices that replenish the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

    Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

    All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and heterosexism, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.


    It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to our current patterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the streets, to nations and the world. We will work to demilitarize our society and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.


    Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system that is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

    Community Based Economics

    We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living, for all people, while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work. Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights, broad citizen participation in planning, and enhancement of our “quality of life”. We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that spread out resources and control to more people through democratic participation.


    We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control, with more cooperative ways of interacting which respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the -sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

    Respect for Diversity

    We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines. We believe the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms and the preservation of biodiversity.

    Personal and Global responsibility

    We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

    Future Focus and Sustainability

    Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counter-balance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that are truly worth living. We believe the quality of our individual lives is enriched by the quality of all of our lives. We encourage everyone to see the dignity and intrinsic worth in all of life, and to take the time to understand and appreciate themselves, their community and the magnificent beauty of this world.

  • kevinzeese

    You need to study some history. If you do you will understand that third parties have had a major impact on the direction of the country, even without winning the presidential election. Third parties have been essential to the development of the country in a progressive direction.

    Third parties are often representative of political movements, e.g. the abolitionists had a succession of third parties that changed the debate on slavery, women seeking voting rights were the root of changes that gave women the right to vote and their views were represented in women’ rights parties, the populist People’s Party of the late 1800s brought about changes to banking laws, anti-trust and other controls on big business as well as protecting farmers, the Progressive Party of the early 20th Century brought about anti-trust laws and controls on big business, the Socialist parties of the 1910-1930s build the foundation of support for the New Deal. The Greens today raised the issue of single payer which Nader advocated for and has been part of the Green platform since 2000. Jill Stein put forward the idea of a Green New Deal which some Dems are now adopting and which the country desperately needs. This is generally how third parties work — the put forward issues that the two parties are not sure have political support. They represent the political movements of their times and those issues then become part of the mainstream dialogue. A candidate like Bernie Sanders has adopted much of the Green Party and political movement agenda.

    Third parties did win one presidential election and it may have been the most important president in history — Abraham Lincoln. That was the first time the Republican Party won. They replaced the Whigs and the issue was abolition of slavery. The Whigs and Democrats have been the dominant party in the 1800s. Lots of excellent abolition candidates lost in the 1840s and 50s, but they built the base for the Republican Party, divided and destroyed the Whig Party as well as divided the Democratic Party.

    It is a difficult task to win in a very deeply controlled election system that protects the two party system in a variety of ways, e.g. ballot access, campaign financing, media coverage to name a few reasons among many. The US lives in a mirage democracy where voters are given the choice of Wall Street candidate Blue and Wall Street candidate Red. People vote manipulated by fear of the perceived greater evil rather than voting for their hopes and dreams. We need to break through this game of red vs blue ping pong back and forth between two Wall Street and war parties and begin to vote for what we want. That would create transformational change consistent with what polls show the public wants.

    As to the Nader 2000 campaign, don’t believe the Democratic Party propaganda. In Florida in 2000 about 50,000 Dems voted for Nader but several hundred thousands Dems voted for Bush. If Gore had kept Democratic voters – or even if all of those Dems who voted Bush voted for Nader, Gore would have won Florida and the election. But, he also would have won if he had one his home state or Bill Clinton’s home state. The reason Gore lost the election was because Gore lost the election. He was a wooden, boring candidate who lacked vision and lost to a very weak Republican. He was tied to the Clinton administration which had sold out the people for Wall Street and put in place NAFTA which destroyed the economy of the Midwest. Don’t use Nader as a scapegoat — Gore lost. Nader had every right to run and he was not the reason for Gore’s defeat, Gore was.