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  • madcogreenparty

Letter to Jeff Elrod, AL Director of Elections

Updated: Jul 10

Dear Mr. Elrod,

Thank you for answering my previous questions about the petitioning process for Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, to gain Alabama ballot access. Our efforts are already underway to get the required 5,000 signatures. This antiquated process of acquiring name, signature, date of birth, and home address in person on a paper form is proving arduous and slow. As one registered voter who reluctantly signed it said, “I am giving out enough personal information to open up a credit card.” I assured her that the information goes nowhere except to the Secretary of State's office for the signature

count. Another serious challenge to petitioning in AL is that in light of recent violent incidents, petitioners no longer feel safe soliciting signatures door to door as was done in the past. We are also not allowed to petition outside of most businesses. The Alabama Green Party formally requests that the State of Alabama modernizes the petitioning process by allowing electronic signatures in a secure manner that can be accessed through the AL SOS website. There is legal precedent set for this in the State of Texas. On June 28, 2023 U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas held that Texas's ballot access procedures for independent and minor party candidates is unconstitutional insofar as they require use of paper

nomination petitions. The plaintiffs in the case including the Texas Green Party and Texas Libertarian Party argued that both their 1st Amendment Right (right to freedom of assembly and petition) and 14th Amendment Right (Equal Protection Under the Law) were being violated by requiring severely burdensome requirements. In 2020, the challenged provisions required minor parties to obtain 83,717 valid signatures on paper nomination petitions in only 75 days. They showed evidence that it is too

costly and time consuming. The cost to obtain the signatures would have been in excess of $600,000. By contrast, Texas guarantees ballot access to the two major parties by means of taxpayer-funded primary elections. Texas has also adopted electronic procedures, at taxpayer expense, which minimize the burden of administering the major parties’ primary elections. “Judge Pitman correctly concluded

that Texas’s obsolete 118-year-old petitioning procedures create a financial barrier to entry that is insurmountable for non-wealthy candidates and parties,” said CCD attorney Oliver Hall. (Center for Competitive Democracy, www.competitivedemocracy.org) The plaintiffs were represented pro bono by

Shearman & Sterling, LLP, a global law firm. The Texas ruling set a precedent, and the Green Party in other states are following suit.

In March 2024 on X (formerly Twitter) Secretary of State Wes Allen wrote “Free and fair

elections are the foundation of our constitutional republic.” In this spirit please consider our request to modernize and secure the petitioning process to increase ballot access in Alabama. I look forward to

hearing your opinion. Please consider what agency you may have in this matter, and please advise me on my next steps to further this inquiry. I can be reached at (256) 427-9141. Thank you for your service to our great state!


Sincerely,

Amy Fahimi,

Secretary, Green Party of Madison County and North Alabama

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