Documents filed Wednesday afternoon in federal court suggest that the Green Party and N.C. State Board of Elections have not reached an agreement for ending the Greens’ federal lawsuit against the board.
U.S. District Judge James Dever issued an order Monday urging the two sides to submit a mutually acceptable plan by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Dever’s request followed the state elections board’s decision Monday to reverse an earlier ruling and certify the Green Party for the November election.
That decision resolved much of the federal legal dispute. The main unresolved issue involved setting aside the board’s July 1 deadline for submitting Green Party candidate names for the November ballot.
“Plaintiffs respectfully notify the Court that Plaintiffs and Defendants have conferred, [through] counsel, and have worked cooperatively to agree upon the terms of a proposed consent order,” wrote attorney Oliver Hall of the Center for Competitive Democracy, representing the Green Party. “Despite their cooperative efforts, Plaintiffs and Defendants are unable to agree on the terms of a consent order.”
Greens instead submitted their own proposed order for Dever’s consideration. The judge would block the elections board from applying the July 1 deadline to two Green Party candidates. Matthew Hoh would represent Greens in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, while Michael Trudeau would pursue a state Senate seat. Each would be required to complete the necessary paperwork and pay filing fees by Aug. 12.
Dever would order the elections board to include both names on the November ballot if the candidates meet the Aug. 12 deadline.
“The Court retains jurisdiction over all claims asserted by Plaintiffs to grant such further and additional relief as the Court deems appropriate, including declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and an award of reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs,” according to the Greens’ proposed order.
The N.C. State Board of Elections can submit its own proposed order for Dever’s consideration.
Had the two groups reached a deal, Dever could have canceled an Aug. 8 hearing in the case. Without an agreement, the hearing is likely to proceed in Raleigh.
As the federal lawsuit reaches a possible resolution, the Green Party’s participation in the November election faces a challenge in state court from the N.C. Democratic Party. Democrats, working with the Elias Law Group, hope to overturn the elections board’s decision to certify the Green Party. Democratic critics question the legality of petition signatures Greens submitted in the party certification process.
Democratic interests working with Elias have filed paperwork to intervene in the federal case as well. Dever has not ruled on that request.
Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Carolina Journal expects updates.