That’s the most realistic, and important, objective of the Missouri Green Party as it prepares for Saturday’s rally in St. Louis featuring the party’s presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein.
Win or lose, the state party stands to gain if Stein or another Green Party candidate collects at least 2 percent of the Missouri vote. The gain? Automatic ballot access.
“If we do that, the Missouri Green Party gets officially recognized by the state of Missouri for the next upcoming election and then we don’t have to go through the incredibly taxing ballot access effort,” said Ben Conover, volunteer state coordinator for Stein’s campaign.
With automatic ballot access, there’s no more need to collect 10,000 signatures to get on the next statewide ballot, as the Green Party had to do this summer.
Party activists are heartened by some national polls show Stein receiving as much as 3 percent of the support from registered voters. Conover says she'll be listed on the ballots in at least 44 states, including Missouri and Illinois, plus Washington, D.C. She is cleared as a write-in in three others.
Stein is holding a public rally at noon Saturday at the St. Louis Performing Arts Center, at 2720 Cherokee St. The Missouri Green Party and the Gateway Green Alliance later are co-hosting Stein at their $20-a-person annual Pesto Feast.
Conover said his party and Stein have attracted some former supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had sought the Democratic nomination for president, but now has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton.
With Sanders out, said Conover, “Jill Stein is the only candidate that takes what I call socially progressive issues seriously.”
Although the Green Party hopes to keep its focus on Stein and the party’s key issues, such as climate change, there’s also the matter of the latest news.
Stein faces a warrant for arrest from a North Dakota county, issued a few days ago, because of her participation in a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, which Native Americans say would violate sacred grounds and possibly pollute the water.
Stein was among those who spray-painted some of the construction equipment. Stein has been charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors.
Conover supports Stein’s views, which include a promise to get rid of student debt for millions of college students, and her call to take action to combat climate change.
Stein has come over fire over her comments about vaccinations, which she says have been misconstrued. She says she supports vaccinations for children, but is wary of federal health officials, who Stein contends are too close to the pharmaceutical industry and too affected by corporate influence.
Stein is among five presidential candidates on Missouri’s November 8 ballot. Besides Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, Missouri voters also can choose from Libertarian Gary Johnson and Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle.