Arizonans who are concerned about Clinton, terrified of Trump and are jittery about Johnson are going to have another choice.
Secretary of State Michele Reagan has agreed to put electors for Jill Stein on the Nov. 8 ballot even though Green Party officials missed the June 1 deadline for submitting their names.
But it took a federal court lawsuit to make it happen after Reagan told party officials that, absent a court order, Stein would be struck.
Reagan said, though, she agrees with Green Party officials that the June 1 deadline is unnecessarily early, coming months before the general election ballot has to be printed. And she vowed to ask lawmakers to alter it this coming year.
“That’s great news,” said Scott McLarty, spokesman for the national Green Party.
That enables her to compete for votes against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
But McLarty is under no illusion that Stein, the party’s presumptive nominee, was going to be elected, even with Arizonans now able to cast their votes for her. He said that, at the moment, Stein is on the ballot in just two dozen states.
The Green Party, like the two major ones, has not yet held its convention. And, technically speaking, Stein is not yet the nominee.
But Arizona law requires whoever chairs each recognized party to choose its 11 electors no later than 90 days ahead of the primary.
That deadline was 5 p.m. June 1.
Green Party Chairman Angel Torres said no one from Reagan’s office notified party officials of that deadline.
But Matt Roberts, spokesman for Reagan’s office, said the law is clear. And he said that even if party officials had a good excuse, there is no legal way to waive the deadline.
That left the party with only one option: Seek a court order.
That’s precisely what it did, filing suit in federal court against Reagan.
Roberts said his boss opted, in essence, not to fight the lawsuit. Instead, she directed the attorney general’s office, which represents her office, to agree to an order giving the Green Party ballot access despite missing the deadline.
All this could be avoided in 2020 if lawmakers agree with Reagan that there’s no legitimate reason for a June 1 deadline.
“In some ways we agree that the deadline is unnecessarily early,” Roberts said.
There are not a lot of party adherents in Arizona: The latest figures show just 4,480 people have registered with the Green Party out of more than 3.3 million registered voters statewide.