CVD homepage
What's new?
Online library
Order materials
Get involved!
About CVD

CVD Director to Co-Moderate Third Party Presidential Candidate Debate on CSPAN

The three third party presidential candidates on the most ballots (the Libertarian Party's Michael Badnarik, the Green Party's David Cobb and the Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka) will participate in a presidential debate on Tuesday, August 31 in New York City. C-SPAN will televise the debate, although potentially with a tape delay. For those in New York, there is an open seating for the 7 pm debate, and the audience will have a chance to ask questions. (See news release below.)

CVD's executive director Rob Richie is one of the debate's two moderators, and instant runoff voting and full representation are sure to be topics of conversation. The debate should be lively, given the candidates' differences, but at least two of the candidates (Badnarik and Cobb) support IRV. Cobb calls IRV "the Holy Grail" of the Green Party in a news article below, and the Libertarian Party's platform includes IRV.

Below is an article about the three presidential candidates to be in the debate, an article on David Cobb where he highlights IRV and the Libertarian Party news release about the Tuesday debate.

Associated Press
Sat. August 28, 2004

Alabamians May Be Able to Choose More than Bush and Kerry
Phillip Rawls, Associated Press

Alabama voters will have more choices than George Bush and John Kerry for president if four groups are successful in getting enough signatures to put their candidates on Alabama's general election ballot.

Supporters of Michael Peroutka, the Constitution Party candidate, are confident they have submitted far more than the 5,000 signatures from Alabama voters that are required to get on the Nov. 2 ballot. The secretary of state's office is in the process of verifying the signatures.

Three other groups - including Ralph Nader's supporters - are running behind because they had to start over with their signature drives. Supporters of Nader, the Green Party's David Cobb, and the Libertarian Party's Michael Badnarik have until Sept. 7 to get the 5,000 signatures and give them to the secretary of state.

In the 2000 presidential election, Alabama had five independent and third-party candidates on the ballot. Nader led the group with 1 percent of the votes. If all of their votes had gone to Al Gore, it wouldn't have been enough to erase George W. Bush's commanding lead in the state.

The most recent campaign finance reports show that Nader is the top fund-raiser in Alabama among the independent and third-party candidates with $28,950.

That's about 1 percent of the $2.8 million that Bush has collected in Alabama. No one who has scrambled to get signatures for presidential candidates this year is happy about it.

"This is all because Democrats and Republicans are terrified of competition," said Mary Ann Crum, chairman of the Alabama Constitution Party.

The 5,000 signatures will get a presidential candidate on the ballot as an independent with no party label. To get a party listed on the ballot requires 41,000 signatures - a figure no one is trying to reach this year.

"It really makes it difficult for third parties to get on the ballot and to survive," said Matthew Hellinger, an organizer for the Alabama Green Party.

The Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and Nader's supporters tried to simplify the process by circulating a combined petition that listed all three presidential candidates. They had collected more than 600 signatures when Republican Attorney General Troy King issued an advisory opinion Aug. 18 saying only one name can be on a petition.

He said the Legislature's intent was "that ballot access be restrictive, not expansive." He also said the purpose of the state law on independent candidates "is to ensure that each candidate is supported by 5,000 voters."

James Hines, state coordinator for Badnarik, reads the law differently. He contends the law only requires 5,000 people to say they'd like to see a candidate's name on the ballot, but it doesn't require the 5,000 to support the candidate.

Trey Granger, spokesman for Secretary of State Nancy Worley, said 5,000 signatures is a reasonable level to make sure candidates are serious. He said many of Alabama's election laws contain thresholds, including the law on filing campaign finance reports.

No matter how the law is read, people who have been gathering the signatures say it's harder than it used to be because of the perceived impact of Ross Perot on the Republican ticket in 1992 and Ralph Nader on the Democratic ticket in 2000.

Some campaign organizers don't dispute the impact.

"A lot of people who are likely to vote Libertarian if they have that option are more likely to vote Bush if they don't," Hines said.

EDITOR's NOTE: Phillip Rawls has covered Alabama state government for The Associated Press since 1980.


Greens' presidential hopeful stumps in SLO:  At an evening rally downtown, candidate David Cobb tells locals a ballot cast for him is not a wasted vote
Nathan Welton
San Luis Obispo Tribune
August 26, 2004

SAN LUIS OBISPO - Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb urged local residents Wednesday that a ballot cast for him is not a wasted vote -- even if he has little chance of winning the election.

That was among his top messages to a crowd ranging from goateed young men to silver-haired seniors at an evening rally in downtown San Luis Obispo.

"I voted for (Ralph) Nader and then Florida happened," said Sherry Lewis of San Luis Obispo, referring to the disputed vote count in the 2000 presidential election. "I'm scared to vote Green this time, so what do you say?"

Noting that the latest polls suggest Democrat Sen. John Kerry will win California by about 1.5 million ballots -- and a spread of some 15 percent -- Cobb asked for her vote.

"There's no way Kerry can lose California," he said, still acknowledging that he's not campaigning as aggressively in states where it's uncertain which of the two major party candidates are expected to win electoral votes.

The Green Party -- which focuses on voting reform, environmental issues, universal health care, a higher minimum wage, and ending the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- has been growing in strength recently.

According to local party organizer Peggy Koteen, the county's Green registration has jumped some 66 percent, from 1,500 to more than 2,500, since 1999. That mirrors a similar surge nationwide. In 1996, Greens had 10 state parties and 40 elected officials.

Now, some 44 states have organized state parties, there are 207 Greens elected to office and there are about 300,000 registered in the country. Another 200,000 people are affiliated with the party but live in states where they can't register.

In an interview with The Tribune, Cobb said he was conducting his campaign in part as a bid for the presidency, but also for Green Party outreach and education on a grassroots, local level.

"Who is calling for an end to war? For single-payer universal health care? For raising minimum wage to living wage? Who is calling for genuine sustainable alternative energy to wean ourselves off the addiction to fossil fuel?" he asked. "What is proving more difficult is not convincing people that the Green Party is correct on the positions we take; our difficulty is convincing people to vote for us."

On local issues, Cobb said his party favors decommissioning the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and preventing urban sprawl. And he urged voters to support Green Party members Orval Osborne for San Luis Obispo City Council and Tom Hutchings for state Assembly.

Cobb also said he was involved in Humboldt and Sonoma county legislation similar to San Luis Obispo County's proposed Measure Q, which would ban growing genetically engineered crops here.

"I want to use (genetically engineered) foods as an opportunity to discuss how 'we the people' are not in control of the decision making of this country," he said. "We don't know how dangerous those foods might be, and in the rest of industrialized world they're rejecting (genetically engineered) foods because they can't tell if they're safe."

In what he called his party's "Holy Grail," Cobb outlined instant runoff voting, a system used by some counties where voters simply prioritize their candidates. If a candidate receives a first-place vote majority, he or she wins. If not, the last-place candidate is eliminated, the ballots are recounted and the process repeats.

That system, according to Greens, would curb what they call shortcomings in the Electoral College system.

Cobb and running mate Pat LaMarche were nominated for the party's ticket in late June, and expect to campaign in at least 35 states for the November election.

The 41-year-old Cobb is a former lawyer living in Northern California, while LaMarche is a radio host and former gubernatorial candidate in Maine.

Media Advisory: Presidential debate in NYC on August 31, 2004
Badnarik and Cobb to hold presidential debate in NYC. Bush,
Kerry, Peroutka and Nader are invited to attend, as well.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) August 28, 2004 -- The first presidential debate of the 2004 election cycle will be held on Tuesday, August 31, in New York City.

Arrangements have just been finalized between Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb to participate in this debate in Manhattan, while the Republican National Convention is convened.

Invitations to participate in this debate have been extended to Republican incumbent George Bush, Democratic candidate John Kerry, Independent/Reform candidate Ralph Nader and Constitution Party candidate Michael Peroutka.

The debate is scheduled to begin at 7:00 P.M., and will be held at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church (formerly known as St Raphael's Church) at 502 West 41st Street in Manhattan.

There will be a joint press conference immediately preceding the debate at 6:00 P.M.

Open public seating is available at this event - with no loyalty oaths or other stringent preconditions required for entry to the debate.

Libertarian Party contact information is provided below.

General inquiries:
Donald Meinshausen
[email protected]

Media inquiries:
Stephen Gordon
[email protected]

top of page

Copyright 2002     The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610, Takoma Park MD 20912
(301) 270-4616      [email protected]