Alaska's Green Party wins access to '04 ballot

Party granted injunction after suing state over law's exclusion from ballot without 3 percent of gubernatorial vote

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE - The Green Party of Alaska has won a temporary court order guaranteeing its candidates space on statewide ballots next year.

The preliminary injunction, granted in Anchorage Superior Court, means the Greens will be able to participate in the August 2004 primary election however it ends up being structured, said Jim Sykes, co-chairman of the Green Party.

"The courts here in Alaska have really stood up for voters' rights and political-party rights more than many other states," he said Friday.

The state Division of Elections stripped the Green Party of its official status - which guarantees a place on the ballot in state elections - in February after its gubernatorial candidate failed to draw 3 percent of the vote in the 2002 election.

Under state law, a political party must receive at least 3 percent of the last gubernatorial vote or have an equal amount of registered voters to maintain a place on Alaska ballots.

A candidate not affiliated with a recognized political party must gather a requisite number of signatures on a nominating petition to be listed on a ballot.

The party sued the state last summer, challenging the law as unconstitutional. Judge John Reese issued a preliminary injunction last week, ordering the state to extend the benefits of political-party status to the Greens.

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