The Democrats and Republicans together have hurled this country into crushing inflation, mass homelessness, endless war, and growing authoritarianism. Every American has the right to vote against the establishment parties and for third party candidates who don’t answer to their billionaire donors. But in state after state, the increasingly unpopular corporate parties are trying to entrench their advantage with laws meant to suppress third parties and deny millions of Americans the right to vote for them.
That’s what the People’s Party is facing in Florida, where, despite having achieved ballot access last fall, the secretary of state is using an unconstitutional Florida law to bar us from running candidates. In the spring of 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican state legislature passed a law that requires that, in order to run with a party, a candidate must have been affiliated with that party for more than a year, which is impossible for candidates in newly-formed parties like ours. So the law discriminates against newly-formed parties and the rights of voters to form new parties.
As a result, when longtime Pasco County activist and member of our national leadership, Elise Mysels, sought to run for the Pasco County Board of Commissioners with the People’s Party of Florida, she was barred from entering the race. Having devoted herself to fighting for progressive policies like Medicare for All and a living wage for many years, Elise works to better the lives of her neighbors in Pasco and people nationwide. If she was in office, Elise would speak for working people and not the rich developers that the Democrats and Republicans on the County Commission represent today.
We consulted with ballot access lawyers and experts and learned that state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have prohibited discriminating against newly-formed parties several times. We also learned that similar laws have been struck down in two other states.
As Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reported, “the only two other states that ever blocked a new party from running any candidates in its first year of qualified existence were Nevada and Oklahoma, but the laws of both those states, as applied to new parties, were struck down long ago. The Independent American Party of Nevada won its case in the State Supreme Court in 1975, and the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma won its case in U.S. District Court in 1980.”
That’s why on June 3, the People’s Party of Florida and state leaders Elise Mysels, Carolyn Wolfe, and Victor Nieto filed suit against the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections, and the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections to gain ballot access and strike down the one-year affiliation law – with attorney Christopher Kruger arguing the case in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The DeSantis administration is fighting to protect the law, having denied a motion for a preliminary injunction. We are now asking the Court to reconsider our denial of ballot access.
Overturning this rule in Florida will make it easier for people to leave the corporate parties and challenge them as third party and independent candidates. It will also prevent this undemocratic law from spreading to other states. That’s why the establishment is fighting to defend it. And that’s why, with your help, we’re going to strike it down.
Please share this post on social media and contribute what you can to support our lawsuit, our organizing, and to send a message to the Democrats and Republicans: millions of Americans want to vote for third parties and we won’t let you suppress our votes.