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Democrats lose battle to refuse NC Green Party recognition

Democrats lose battle to refuse NC Green Party recognition


Democrats lose battle to refuse NC Green Party recognition

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously voted Monday to recognize the Green Party as a new political party, reversing its previous decision to reject the party’s petition while the board investigated the signature sheets for fraud.

Katelyn Love, the board's legal counsel, announced Monday that the North Carolina Green Party has submitted more than enough signatures validated by both the state and county elections boards to earn immediate recognition. But Green Party candidates still face an ongoing legal battle to appear on the November ballot after the state board’s initial rejection of the petition led the party to miss the July 1 deadline to submit its nominees.

Though the elections board determined it does not have authority to extend the deadline, an Aug. 8 federal court hearing in Raleigh could widen the window for a new political party to nominate candidates in North Carolina.

Democrats have warned that Green Party certification could divide liberal voters and clear a path for Republican victories in key races — particularly the tight U.S. Senate race between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Trump-endorsed Republican Rep. Ted Budd. Prior to the board's initial vote, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee acknowledged contacting signers of the Green Party's petition to request they remove their names.

Ballot preparation begins in mid-August, which Love said should give Green Party candidates enough time to appear on the North Carolina ballot alongside Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians if the court rules in their favor.