New political party could be one way to get things done in North Carolina
I have been involved in North Carolina politics for over 50 years as a reporter, columnist, campaign chair, and for the past 21 years as a producer and moderator of a political TV talk show at statewide. Because I’ve been around for a while and I’m famous people talk to me a lot.
At the start of their conversation, they invariably tell me how disgusted they are with the state of politics in our state. They are fed up with hyper partisans, vindictiveness, insults, ugliness and lies. Their angst is directed against both sides, which they believe are dominated by extreme factions. People who want to see our state work together and move forward think North Carolina is as stagnant and politically divided as the federal government. What can they do, they want to know?
They are right. The political climate in our state is getting worse all the time. It is clear that parties and their leaders will not or will not be able to change unless they are forced to. They need new competition; since we are a “purple state”, this competition should advocate more moderate positions. I believe it is time we formed a third political party in North Carolina. I would suggest calling it the moderate or common sense party, but I’m definitely open to a better name.
The North Carolina statutes regarding political parties can be found in (GS 163-96 (2)). They define the creation of a new party as: “Any group of voters who have filed with the State Electoral Council petitions for the formation of a new political party which are signed by registered and qualified voters in that State. equal in number to one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) of the total number of voters who voted in the last general election for the office of governor. Additionally, the petition must be signed by at least 200 registered voters from each of North Carolina’s three congressional districts. To be effective, petitioners must file their petitions with the State Council for Elections by noon on the first day of June preceding the day of the first state general election in which the new political party wishes to participate. . “Petitions must be presented to the respective county electoral board so that the names of voters can be reviewed, verified against registration records and found qualified, and then sent to the state electoral board for certification.
Petitions must contain a title in bold or capital letters on each page indicating: “THE UNDERSIGNED ELECTORS REGISTERED IN THE COUNTY OF _______ BY THIS PETITION FOR THE FORMATION OF A NEW POLITICAL PARTY TO BE NAMED ___________ AND INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT OF THE ‘STATE IS ____________, RESIDING IN ________ AND WHICH CAN BE REACHED BY PHONE AT __________.
In the 2020 governor’s election, there were a total of 5,545,848 votes cast. According to information provided by the National Election Council, a total of 13,865 validly signed petitions are needed to form a new political party. At least 200 would be required from three of our 13 (current) congressional districts. An official name would need to be adopted and someone appointed as party chairman. In order to field candidates for the November 8, 2022 election, the requirements should be met by June 1, so there is still time to complete the task.
The aim would be to put forward qualified candidates in the hope of gathering unaffiliated voters, as well as those from both parties. There are 7,104,795 registered voters. 35% of them are registered Democrats, 30.48% are registered as Republicans, but 33.8% are registered as unaffiliated.
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So how disappointed are you? If you’re fed up with today’s two-party culture, here’s something positive you can do. It will be interesting to see if enough people are ready to organize and start petition campaigns in their city or county to make this happen. Who knows? This may be the start of a movement that is changing North Carolina. At least that would be a wake-up call that people are ready for a change.
Tom Campbell is a North Carolina Hall of Fame broadcaster and columnist who has covered North Carolina public policy issues since 1965. He recently retired from writing, producing and directing. moderation of the half-hour NC SPIN TV show which aired for 22 and a half years. Contact him at [email protected]