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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | Government & Elections
California Greens kick off registration and re-registration drive
Thirty-two thousand members of the California Green Party, roughly 30% of its members, re-registered this year, presumably to vote for Bernie Sanders in the state’s Democratic primary. The Peace and Freedom Party, the other left party whose name appears on California ballots, lost 7,000 registered voters, or 9% of its membership. This week California Greens kicked off a drive to re-register former Greens and register those newly disaffected with the Democratic Party.
Audio transcript available at:
KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Thirty-two thousand members of the California Green Party, roughly 30% of its members, re-registered this year, presumably to vote for Bernie Sanders in the state’s Democratic primary. The Peace and Freedom Party, the other left party whose name appears on California ballots, lost 7,000 registered voters, or 9% of its membership. This week California Greens kicked off a drive to re-register former Greens and register those newly disaffected with the Democratic Party. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Laura Wells, Oakland resident and former Green Party candidate for statewide office, when she returned from tabling to register voters at the Oakland Grand Lake Farmer’s Market.
Ann Garrison: Laura Wells, can you summarize your arguments for registering or re-registering Green?
LW: Bottom line, people want a better world. What people often don't realize is how important their voter registration is. If you are registered Democrat, let's say you've switched to Democrat or you've just been a lifelong Democrat, then the Democrats have got you. They basically can keep moving toward what they call the center, but what we know is just an extreme centralization of wealth and power. They can keep doing that. When people register Green Party, they're saying, "These are my values. I'm not buying it. You don't have me in your back pocket. You need to pay attention to what I'm saying."
And beyond that, the numbers grow, the volunteers grow, the number of candidates that run Green and no-corporate-money - and I give Bernie kudos for running with a no-corporate-money campaign for president - but Greens never take corporate money, which is a stand-in for 0.1% money. The more people register Green, the stronger is our democracy. Multiple parties, not just two parties.
The other thing is that it's stronger when we're looking to be in the debates. Leading up to November, do people want to hear Trump and Hillary only? Or wouldn't they want a voice that is in there talking about the same values that Bernie Sanders excited people with? People do want that. Over and over again, when people are asked, "Do you want to have other voices, do you want to have a third party in the debate?" They say yes, yes, they want to hear that.
But what do they do? They arrest us outside the debates. They say "Well, you haven't got enough strength, you haven't got enough numbers, you haven't got enough, you haven't got enough, you haven't got enough, and besides these are the only two parties anybody should ever vote for." So there are lots of reasons that using your power creates that counterweight to the power of the money. It's people power and what people power means is use your vote, use your voter registration, use your wallet power, you know, use whatever power you've got in your choices, but voter registration is one of them.
AG: I believe you're also arguing that party registration will not determine what sort of ballot you get for the next four years.
LW: In California that's true because of the top two primary. Everybody between now and June 2020 - four years from now - everybody, whether it's a primary election or a general election in November, will get the same ballot for the public offices and the initiatives. The one difference is the internal party officers, like we have the Green Party County Council or the Central Committee; that differs. But in terms of every office for the city, the county, the state and the nation, except for president in four years, you get the same ballot.
AG: And that was Laura Wells, Oakland resident, Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for statewide office. In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.