Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis

Digital version of article from Sept 2000 Compost Dispatch

Appeals to McGivern, Eller ballot denials planned

Green Party candidates Mary Ann McGivern and Frank Eller, Jr. have opted to challenge their exclusion from the Missouri ballot. Volunteer Green Party attorneys were preparing court challenges to both actions as this publication went to press.

McGivern is the Green Party candidate for Missouri Attorney General, and Eller is the party's choice for state representative in the 87th District in St. Louis County. Their Declarations of Candidacy accompanied the Green Party ballot-access petitions along with those of other Green Party candidates. While certifying the Green Party and 18 of its candidates for the November ballot on August 22, Secretary of State Bekki Cook disallowed the candidacies of McGivern and Eller.

Cook denied ballot access to McGivern because McGivern is not a lawyer, even though no statute case makes such a requirement. In doing so, Cook apparently failed to consult her own web site. The official web site of the Missouri Secretary of State lists residence in Missouri for one year before the election as the only qualification for the office.

Barring court action, Cook's action protects her fellow Democrat, incumbent Jay Nixon, from progressive competition for his office. Many progressive voters are unhappy with Nixon because of his policies on desegregation and other issues.

Asked if not being licensed to practice law would be a liability in the office, McGivern responded, "I'm a good administrator. I can hire excellent lawyers to do the legal business of the state. But what's more important is that I believe I have a well-developed sense of justice. The job of the Attorney General is to protect the citizens and ensure their rights and their access to government. I can do that without a law degree."

McGivern had hoped that her candidacy would open a meaningful dialogue on the death penalty, which she vigorous opposes. Both Nixon and his Republican opponent, Sam Jones, support capital punishment. Libertarian Mitch Moore shares McGivern's views against the death penalty.

Cook denied Eller's candidacy on the pretense that Eller's Declaration of Candidacy denominated the office sought as merely "State Representative," without specifying the district number. Another document accompanying Eller's Declaration of Candidacy did specify Eller's district number, but Cook persisted in excluding Eller from ballot access. There was no ambiguity, because the district in which a candidate resides is the only district in which he or she may legally run.

On the same day, Cook also denied ballot access to a Springfield woman seeking to run for State Representative as an independent, on the grounds that the candidate's petitions did not include her address.

Barbara Chicherio, Co-coordinator of the Green Party of St. Louis, asserts that these events are part of a larger pattern of exclusion. "First, the Democratic Party members of the Presidential Debate Commission do everything they can to keep Ralph Nader out of the debates, and now, the Democrat Secretary of State is grasping at straws to keep Green Party candidates off the ballot in Missouri.

"It's time for the Democratic Party to get a dictionary to look up the word 'democratic.'"

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