By Mark Wachtler
August 27, 2014. Boston. (ONN) Republicans and Democrats will stop at nothing it seems to keep America’s opposition candidates off the country’s election ballots. And when the party and government are one and the same, as it is across much of America these days, it makes for some of the most blatant abuses of election fraud imaginable. That’s the case right now for the Massachusetts Green Party, where state Democrats kicked the Green candidate off the ballot for using the white petition forms they gave him.
MA Green-Rainbow 2014 candidates. Image courtesy of WAMC.org
The Green Party’s Massachusetts affiliate is called the Green-Rainbow Party. And if state Democrats have their way, the Rainbow Greens will only have three candidates on November’s General Election Ballot instead of four. That fourth candidate, Jason Lowenthal, is running for US Congress from Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District.
Thrown off the ballot
Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party co-chair John Andrews released a statement two days ago announcing that their US Congressional candidate has filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be reinstated on the November ballot.
“Lowenthal had assumed that the 3,000 voter signatures he had collected would be more than enough to put his name on the November ballot since only 2,000 certified signatures were required,” Andrews explains, “But when he tried to turn in his signatures, town clerks, after consultation with state officials, told him that the signatures were invalid since they were on white forms intended for use by the two recognized major parties - Democrats and Republicans. If he had only used the tan forms intended for use by smaller parties, they said, all the signatures would have been acceptable.”
In his lawsuit, Jason Lowenthal details how it was the state election workers that gave him the wrong colored petition forms in the first place. He even explains how he questioned the petitions’ fine print at the bottom that referenced Democrats and Republicans, but not Greens. He insists he was erroneously told that since he was running for US Congress, he had to use the white petition forms which were specifically for federal races and were supposed to be used by all candidates from all parties. Of course, those instructions were completely false, leading to the same officials kicking him off the ballot for simply following instructions.
The Green-Rainbow Party announcement goes on to say, ‘According to Lowenthal's lawsuit, the rejection of the signatures constitutes a violation of the rights of the 3,000 signers who have the right under state law to place candidates on the ballot by signing nomination papers. Lowenthal is invoking the legal principle that executive agencies are not allowed to impose regulations that frustrate the intent of laws passed by the legislature.’
John Andrews, the Rainbow Green’s co-chair remarked, “The Lowenthal case is an example of the type of thing that discourages newcomers from challenging entrenched political forces. In Massachusetts, our entire Congressional delegation is Democratic and incumbents often run unopposed. In the state legislature, over 60 percent of incumbents run unopposed year after year. The difficulty of just getting your name on the ballot discourages challengers. And when all the work a candidate does to demonstrate voter support is tossed aside by a technicality, it contributes to the sense that the seats of big party office holders are being protected from competition.”
Lowenthal (G) vs Capuano (D)
The Massachusetts Rainbow Greens’ US Congressional candidate Jason Lowenthal will hopefully find his name reinstated on the November ballot. Because few people are as motivated or have as much reason to run as this Green-Rainbow candidate. Like so many of us, including your humble author, Lowenthal has seen his life turned upside down and nearly ruined over a mistake in a local county government’s computer system. It wasn’t even a county he was familiar with, and unbelievably, the computer error apparently originated on the other side of the country in Arizona.
For the past year and a half, Jason has been fruitlessly trying to get the computer mistake attached to his identity removed. He’s gone to the county government, where he was told he needed to go to the state government. He went to the state government, who told him he needed to go to the county government. These are probably the same people that gave him the wrong colored ballot access petitions. Lowenthal then goes on to detail how he repeatedly reached out to his US Congressman for help since the mistake apparently was made in another state and by a non-government, data-selling corporation.
Jason Lowenthal’s campaign website explains, “Throughout this most personal fight, Congressman Mike Capuano’s office refused to meet to address this problem and said that it would take him 18 months to learn enough about the relevant laws to discover how to help me. That answer is unacceptable from a publicly elected official.” Jason explains that his experience is turning out to be his biggest campaign asset. Rep. Capuano’s loyalty to a far-off discredited predatory corporation over one of his own victimized constituents has earned the Congressman the scorn of many of his voters.
This probably shouldn’t be a surprise. According to OpenSecrets.org, Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) is funded almost exclusively by the super rich and by Wall Street. A full 95% of his campaign contributions have come from large donors, PAC’s and Super PAC’s. Only 4% of Capuano’s donations come from individuals making small contributions.
Rep. Capuano’s largest contributors are Citigroup, the insurance industry, trial lawyers, and large real estate holding companies and landlord associations. Apparently, the Wall Street Democrat is on the side of nameless, faceless New York real estate investors over his own Massachusetts residents, whose renters typically include fixed income seniors and struggling families just trying to keep the rent paid amidst a devastated economy.
Compare that pro-corporate platform to the Green-Rainbow Party’s Jason Lowenthal’s positions. Lowenthal opposes the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision which gave America secret, unlimited Super PAC’s. He supports single-payer healthcare, as opposed to the Republican-designed Obamacare system the US is currently in the process of fully implementing. Lowenthal also supports banning Big Pharma ads from TV, a $15 minimum wage and the party’s Green New Deal.
Other Massachusetts Green Candidates
While Jason Lowenthal wages a legal battle to remain on the election ballot, three other Rainbow Greens have their state-wide campaigns in full swing. The candidate slate was required to turn in 5,000 valid petition signatures. They ended up collecting and submitting 7,500. And since these aren’t federal races, there apparently wasn’t any confusion on the part of state elections employees over which colored forms to provide.
Danny Factor of Acton is the Green-Rainbow candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Ian Jackson of Arlington is the Party’s nominee for State Treasurer. And M K Merelice of Brookline is running for State Auditor.
“Today is a politically significant event,” candidate Danny Factor announced after the Greens submitted their ballot access petitions, “Three candidates stressing their commitment to social and environmental justice, accomplished a formidable petitioning task without hiring professional signature collectors the way candidates in the big parties often do. Such volunteer empowerment is consistent with our pledge to refuse contributions from lobbyists or corporate officers who hire lobbyists. Being independent from the big money influences lets us speak up for the needs of real people instead of pushing the agenda of Beacon Hill lobbyists.”
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party. You can also catch all their announcements and news streaming live 24/7 on the Opposition News Massachusetts Page in our States section.
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