Annals Of False Dichotomy: Maine’s 3rd Party Ballot Access Rules Deemed Unconstitutional

Last Friday I received a message from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) whose actions on behalf of peace, nuclear disarmament, and social justice I have often supported.

This one shocked me, though, because they were teaming up with one of the worst sh*t lib organizations I can think of, Daily Kos. Furthermore, they were urging me to contact the Senate to “protect our freedom to vote” which is code for “vote for Democrats” or, in its more inane version, “vote blue no matter who.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised because AFSC folks I know declined to support me as an antiwar candidate in 2020 and one of our campaign managers said, yeah, AFSC takes big money from the DNC and has for years. 

I’m not a sucker for false dichotomy so I don’t accept the unspoken premise that, because I dislike Republican policies and tactics, I must therefore support Democrats. Both parties work for the same corporate sponsors and the bill for voting “rights” makes this clear if you read the fine print.

The Green Party US has a useful information page on why the “Freedom” to Vote Act is a bad bill as written and must be revised to earn our support. Signing the Green petition is an action on behalf of voting freedom that I was happy to take, and I invite you to join me.

Back here in little old Maine we’ve had our two-corporate-party ballot access system declared unconstitutional by violating the 1st and 14th amendments after the Libertarian Party took the state to court over it. Again, not a surprise to me as the former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap admitted to Michael Shepherd of the Bangor Daily News that it was “much harder for a statewide third-party candidate” to gain ballot access in Maine.

Sam Pfeifle of our U.S. senate campaign wrote this great op-ed asking why the current Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows (a Democrat) has not taken steps to address this for all the parties disadvantaged by the rules now in place. 

There are some pretty extensive remedies that she has been ordered by the court to extend to the Libertarians. 

From Sam’s article:

  • The Secretary of State has to reinstate the Libertarian Party and treat them as a ballot-qualified party for the 2022 election cycle. (My note: An election cycle that is already underway).
  • The Secretary of State has to let Libertarian candidates qualify for the ballot using both Libertarian and unenrolled voters’ signatures (instead of just one’s own party’s signatures, as is the current law).
  • The Secretary of State has to send a letter, containing a self-addressed stamped envelop, to all of the Libertarians the office unenrolled, offering them the chance to re-enroll with the Libertarians over the course of 45 days.

If you followed my campaign at all you’re probably aware that we spent months trying for ballot access as a Green candidate until we saw it could not be done. Then we got all the signatures we needed in one day (Super Tuesday) at the polls because we could collect from all registered voters once I unenrolled from the Greens. Seems fair, right? Wrong.

False dichotomy is going to be the death of us, probably literally. 

People who rightfully distrust Anthony Fauci and the CDC for serving capital before human health then erroneously conclude that they shouldn’t get vaccinated. And they often get really sick and even die and now our hospitals are on the verge of total collapse which impacts health care for everyone in ways that have nothing to do with the rapidly mutating virus.

False dichotomy will be strongly in play here in Maine when neoliberal Democrat Governor Janet Mills is up for re-election. She deserves to lose, because she has vetoed a raft of good legislation supported by the actual people — most recently a bill allowing agricultural workers to organize unions. Democrats in Maine think they can thumb their nose at labor interests because of the boogeyman of our former GOP governor who will be back from term limits to run against Mills. There is no ranked choice voting in state level elections (more’s the pity) so we will be told that voting for Green candidate Michael Barden might split the vote for Mills to hold on to her seat. I will be vilified if I admit that I will vote for him anyway. Oh well.

The hysteria over January 6 isn’t super useful in Maine so here comes a state level Equal Rights Amendment. I guarantee you we’ll be told by the pink pussy hat Democrats that we HAVE to re-elect Janet Mills because Paul LePage would not support the bill.

The Dem v. Repub false dichotomy is increasingly threadbare as the Biden administration mismanages the pandemic at least as badly as the GOP bogeyman before him, passes the largest military spending bill ever, continues the bipartisan plan to (secretly) privatize Medicare, and continues to keep migrant children in cages at the border amid record breaking deportations. There are a lot of great memes about this but I’ll just end with one:

EDITED 1/12/22: To correct my misunderstanding that a governor’s veto would play a role in a constitutional amendment. Hat tip to former Maine legislator Ralph Chapman for the correction.

Leave a Reply