Michigan Third Parties Coalition


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Michigan Third Parties Coalition

Member Parties

 

 Green Party of Michigan

 

Libertarian Party of Michigan

 

Reform Party of Michigan

 

Socialist Party of Michigan

 

U.S. Taxpapyers Party of Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Michigan Third Parties Coalition is a network representing nearly the entire partisan political spectrum in Michigan outside of the Democratic and Republican parties to advocate for equal rights for all parties participating in Michigan elections. We recognize that the present two party system is not simply a product of voters’ choices or ideals but rather an institutional arrangement maintained by the major parties to prevent competition and by powerful aligned interests that benefit from the undemocratic status quo.

 

As in other states, Michigan minor party candidates face a near complete media blackout, justified through the circular logic that minor party candidates do not gain enough public attention to become viable. Most crudely, the media black out of Michigan minor party candidates regularly extends to electoral debates thereby prohibiting minor party candidates from directly challenging the candidates of the major parties and presenting their views to the public.

Of all of the obstacles to minor parties achieving fair and equal access in the Michigan electoral system are the present state election laws which prevent many third party candidates from even getting the opportunity to participate in Michigan’s electoral process at all. The State of Michigan has among the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation for minor parties. Under the present Michigan election law, it is impossible for a new party to nominate any candidates for the ballot without spending tens of thousands of dollars on a statewide ballot access drive – an often impossible task for third parties which do not have the corporate financial backing of the two major parties. Minor parties that have been able to qualify for ballot access in Michigan are threatened each election with the possibility of losing their ballot access and being unable to qualify for ballot access again. At the same time, the plurality voting system used in all Michigan elections leads voters to feel compelled to vote for one of the major party candidates rather than their first choice or else “waste” their vote.

 

The Michigan Third Parties Coalition believes that debate and competition between a wide range of views is essential to democratic representation. The right of equal access to the electoral process is not only a right for minor parties, but most importantly, a democratic right for the voting public. Living in a representative democracy means that voters have the fundamental right to vote for candidates of which ever party they choose. Living in a truly representative democracy also means that voters have the right to vote for their first choice of candidates without the risk of “spoiling” elections. The Michigan Third Parties Coalition additionally believes that living in a democratic society means that voters have a right to make informed decisions and are robbed of that right when third parties are excluded from the coverage and opportunities necessary to equally present their views to the voting public.

 

While the member parties of the Michigan Third Parties Coalition have widely diverse political perspectives, we all share a common commitment to fundamental democratic reform and have organized together to jointly support the following:

  • Amending Michigan’s ballot access laws to give all state parties a chance to have their candidates listed on the ballot.

  • Allowing candidates affiliated with non-ballot qualified third parties to list a party label on the ballot once they’ve qualified to appear on the ballot as independents.Michigan is among a minority of states that does not allow this.

  • Establishing Instant Run-Off Voting in Michigan elections. Instant Run-Off Voting is a system that would allow voters to rank their preferences and eliminate the weakest candidates until one candidate has a majority. In addition to being a far more democratic system of voting than the “winner-take-all” system currently in place, IRV would eliminate the spoiler effect of voting for minor party candidates.

  • Coverage of all candidates by the media. We jointly advocate the importance including third party candidates in the media and raising the issue to the media and general public whenever third party candidates are systematically ignored in election coverage.

  • Fighting the exclusion of minor party candidates from debates.

We ask all Michigan voters who share our commitment to a pluralistic democracy to support the Michigan Third Party Coalition’s struggle for free, fair, and open elections. We also encourage all Michigan voters to  explore the websites of our member parties and learn about perspectives you won’t find from the Democratic or Republican parties or the major media.