Green Party's Bill Stant needs up to 50,000

Kathleen Dobie

Bill Stant, the Indiana Green Party candidate for secretary of state.

At a meeting of the self-named Marion County Petition Committee at the Abbey last Wednesday night, Bill Stant, the Indiana Green Party candidate for secretary of state, broke it down: "We need to collect 2,500 signatures every week from now through the last week in June."

In Indiana, if you want to run for state office and your party isn't already on the ballot, you must collect signatures equal to 2 percent of the total number of votes cast for secretary of state in the last election. So, Stant needs the signatures of 30,000 registered Hoosier voters in order to get on the ballot in November. And, he needs to turn them in to the County Clerks' Offices to be certified by the end of June - long before most voters are even thinking about the November elections.

Also in Indiana, you can sign a candidate's ballot-access petition without committing to vote for the candidate. Your signature means only that you support the candidate's right to be on the ballot. "We're not asking for your vote. We're not asking you to agree with the Green Party. We can talk about the issues once the campaign achieves ballot access," Stant says.

6,500 and counting

Indiana Greens were not successful in their effort to get Ralph Nader on the Indiana ballot in 2000 despite the fact that they collected well over the required number of signatures. Their attempt failed when more than half the signatures turned in to the Marion County clerk were rejected. In the wake of that experience, party members determined that if they were to get the Green Party recognized and taken seriously as an electoral force they needed to obtain their own ballot line.

Nominated by the Indiana Green Party in August 2004, Stant, along with Indiana Green Party members, immediately started circulating petitions to collect the necessary signatures. Stant figures he needs to collect roughly 50,000 signatures to compensate for illegible, unregistered and duplicate signatures, and for the possibility of partisan bias in various County Clerks' Offices.

Currently around the 6,500 mark, the Citizens for Stant Committee and the Indiana Green Party are actively soliciting folks from around the state to sign petitions. Efforts are going strong here in Indianapolis - you can look to sign a petition at spots along the Monon Trail on spring weekends, outside the post office on Saturday mornings, on Monument Circle during lunch time, as well as at other public gatherings. Groups are collecting signatures in Bloomington, Brown County, Fort Wayne, Franklin County, La Porte, Lake County, South Bend and Terre Haute. Early last week, after a panel discussion sponsored by the student group Union for Democratic Communications, Stant got the ball rolling with a group at Purdue-Calumet, and plans are underway to activate signature-gathering groups in Crawfordsville, Lafayette and Richmond.

If the Green Party can get on the ballot, and if Stant, as a candidate for secretary of state, can get 2 percent of the vote in November, the Green Party will qualify for a ballot line just like the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. And, as long as the Green candidate for secretary of state gets 2 percent of the vote, the party stays on the ballot.

Candidate Stant and the Green Party

Bill Stant's campaign theme is "Get serious about democracy."

"Democracy requires participation," says the Indiana Green Party's candidate for secretary of state. "And the electoral process goes on 24-7, 365 days a year, not just on Election Day." Stant believes that if you want to live in a democracy, you have to engage; you have to debate the issues of concern on your block, in your neighborhood and in your community with your neighbors and with your legislators. "If you want to live in a democratic society, you have to rise to the challenge of democratic citizenship," he says. So, if the choice is between collecting ballot-access signatures or contributing money to his campaign, he'll set you up with petitions, pens and a clipboard in a heartbeat.

Stant's campaign flyers stress his reform agenda, highlighting corporate responsibility and election reform. If elected, his first initiative would be to open ballot access to third-party and independent candidates, so that everyday citizens can enter the electoral process on a par with candidates from the more traditional parties.

The platform of the Indiana Green Party (available at promotes 10 key values, including:

* Electoral reform: championing public financing of all statewide elections and equal access to publicly owned radio and television airwaves for all candidates.

* Corporate social responsibility: holding companies accountable for layoffs and outsourcing. Greens propose an economic plan that redirects public incentives toward independent, community-based businesses.

* Ecological sustainability: supporting treaties on global warming, alternative energy sources and clean air and water standards.

* Social justice: believing that workers need to be paid a living wage, supporting universal health care programs, calling for full equality for every person regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.

* Non-violence: condemning war as a last resort and promoting diplomacy as the first option to resolve conflicts.

* Personal and global responsibility to the planet and its inhabitants: focusing on the need to come up with a plan for the future that is sustainable and that works for all of us.

Stant's campaign is designed to attract people to the Indiana Green Party who will help it grow and shape the party's agenda for the future. Stant asks, "Haven't you ever found yourself saying or thinking the words you wished a candidate had said? This is your chance to step forward and say them yourself, as a candidate of the Indiana Green Party."

Stant believes that citizens need to engage in the political system. "If people do not re-assert themselves in the electoral process, then they will get the government they deserve," he says.