Green party presidential nominee won't be on Arizona ballot

PHOENIX -- Arizonans who don't like the other choices for president this year won't get a chance to vote instead for the Green Party nominee.

The secretary of state's office said Tuesday the party had not met the June 1 deadline for nominating electors for the Nov. 8 election. Those are the people who will come to the Capitol following the election to cast the state's 11 electoral votes for the Green Party candidate were that person to get the most votes here.

The party holds its national convention in August in Houston. Jill Stein, who won the Arizona primary in March, is the presumptive nominee.

But all that is irrelevant under state law. Instead, it requires whoever chairs each recognized party to choose 11 electors no later than 90 days ahead of the primary election.

That deadline passed at 5 p.m. June 1. And while the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties all managed to submit a slate, the Green Party was conspicuous by its absence.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Michele Reagan said there is no legal way to waive the deadline, with the only option now for the Green Party to seek a court order.

Maritza Broce, one of the co-chairs of the party, said late Tuesday she understood the issue was being handled by fellow co-chair Angel Torres. He did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Scott McLarty, spokesman for the national Green Party, said he did not know why the Arizona organization failed to qualify for the presidential ballot.

"The national party does offer some kinds of help to the various state parties,' he said. "But it's really the responsibility of the state party themselves to launch ballot access efforts and get their party's ballot status and major-party status in their respective states as well as name their electors.'

The bottom line is the failure effectively means there is no chance for Arizona to cast its electoral votes for the Green Party nominee, even if that person may be more popular than Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

The Green Party, with just 4,480 registered voters out of more than 3.35 million in the state, has had a history of problems in Arizona meeting deadlines.

In 2013 then-Secretary of State Ken Bennett noted the party had just 5,601 registrants, only a quarter of what it needed to keep its ballot status. So he declared the party ineligible.

The law does allow a party to requalify by gathering petitions with more than 23,000 valid signatures. But the party did not meet the Feb. 27, 2014 deadline and had no official candidates in that year's election.

It finally did requalify for the 2016 election and has candidates in one congressional and several legislative races. The failure to meet the deadline for naming electors does not affect those races.

Generally speaking, the meeting of Arizona electors is a pretty staid affair, usually occurring about a month after balloting at the secretary of state's office. But there have been exceptions.

In 2012 the 11 Republican electors formally cast their votes for Mitt Romney -- but not before three of them, including the state party chairman, said questions remain about whether President Obama is a natural-born citizen.

"I'm not satisfied with what I've seen,' said Tom Morrissey, then the GOP chairman, after signing the formal paperwork to cast his Electoral College vote for Romney. "I think for somebody in the president's position to not have produced a document that looks more legitimate, I have a problem with that.'

Morrissey along with John Rhodes, another GOP elector, also specifically used Obama's middle name, Hussein, in their public comments.

On Twitter: @azcapmedia

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