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Jill Stein

The Wyoming Green Party is working to get its nominee, Jill Stein, on the state ballot in November.

Lisa Abitbol, Contributed

Members of the Wyoming Green Party are planning a petition drive to put their presumptive presidential nominee, Jill Stein, on November’s state ballot as an independent candidate.

Stein, of Massachusetts, was the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. She’s a Harvard-educated physician and environmental advocate. The Green Party prizes ecology, grassroots democracy and social justice. Its candidates do not accept campaign contributions from corporations or political action committees.

If the petition effort is successful and Stein’s name appears on the ballot, she will likely draw a number of votes from independents, said Laramie resident Bern Haggerty.

“There are people like me who just identify as Green members who will vote for her,” he said. “All elections have crossover voters. Just like some Democrats will vote Republican. Certainly some Bernie Sanders supporters will support the Green Party throughout the county.”

Some Sanders supporters have said they will vote for Stein if the Vermont senator loses the Democratic presidential nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the U.S. Senate, Sanders is an independent and many of his supporters are newly registered to the party. They may not have a lot of party allegiance and vote for Stein.

Although the Green Party has existed as a political group in Wyoming since 1996, it’s not currently recognized by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office. To get on the primary election ballot, the party would have to collect over 3,300 signatures to get on the ballot by June 1.

Haggerty said there is not enough time for a successful petition drive. So members are trying the next best thing: to get Stein listed as an independent for the Nov. 8 general election. That gives the party more time — until Aug. 29 — to collect signatures.

Stein will need 3,302 signatures to be on the ballot as an independent, said Kai Schon, state election director.

The Green Party is more left-of-center than the Democratic Party. But Haggerty said the party has had an appeal in Wyoming, one of the country’s most conservative states, since the turn of the century.

In 2000, the Wyoming Green Party brought presidential candidate Ralph Nader to the state. Nader’s vice presidential pick, Winona LaDuke, also visited the state that year.

In 1998, “we formed a coalition with the Wyoming Labor Party,” Haggerty said. “We fielded a slate of write-in candidates, and Sydney Spiegel was our candidate for superintendent of public instruction.”

Spiegel was a high school history teacher and chairman of the Wyoming Labor Party.

“If a Green Party candidate is on the ballot for president in Wyoming, I’m sure some people would vote for the candidate, who would almost certainly not win,” Haggerty said. “But the message of sustainability, ecology and democracy resonate everywhere. Not just in big cities — in Wyoming, too.”

Follow political reporter Laura Hancock on Twitter @laurahancock.


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