U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman’s name will appear toward the bottom of the ballot in November, but “not at the very bottom,” Michael Kozik said Wednesday. Kozik, director of elections for the Secretary of the State, said Lieberman’s name will appear “underneath some of the other candidates,” whose parties have already achieved minor party status in previous elections. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said there could be anywhere from two to six minor parties that will appear on the ballot before Lieberman, who formed a new “Connecticut for Lieberman” party shortly after starting a petition drive to collect the requisite 7,500 signatures for a third-party run.
Since Lieberman’s defeat in the Democratic primary two weeks ago, town clerks have been busy verifying signatures of registered voters from their towns who signed Lieberman’s petition for a third-party run. According to Bysiewicz town clerks verified 8,215 signatures before they stopped counting. She said Lieberman’s campaign told her office they turned over approximately 20,000 signatures, but there was no effort made by her office to count them. Parties such as the Concerned Citizens Party and Green Party will appear before Lieberman on the ballot because in previous elections candidates in those parties achieved minor party status by receiving more than 1 percent of the vote. Kozik said the office is still waiting to hear from the town clerks to see if other minor parties collected enough signatures to get their candidates on the ballot.While Lieberman collected more than the requisite number of signatures, Bysiewicz said in order for Lieberman to be included on the ballot two members of the party must their endorse Lieberman’s candidacy before Sept. 13. How much of an obstacle is ballot placement in an election? “I think the voters in Connecticut are smart and astute,” Bysiewicz said. She said they didn’t hesitate to vote for Lowell Weicker, Jr. when he ran for governor in 1990 as a petitioning candidate and won. And, she said, the state experienced historic voter turnout during the Democratic primary two weeks ago, which proves “people are very interested in this race.” But getting on the ballot is only half the challenge for many of these minor parties. Cliff Thornton, the Green Party candidate for governor, said Wednesday that his party deserves equal electoral consideration. “Our next step is to gain access to the gubernatorial debates and the polls which currently exclude minor parties.” Ken Krayeske, Green Party campaign director, said that he wants to see the minor party candidates in the polls. “Senator Lieberman’s a petitioning candidate and he’s in the polls,” Krayeske said. “Why doesn’t the Green Party candidate merit the same consideration?“Krayeske said he’s spoken to Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz about what a candidate needs to be included in the poll. According to Krayeske, the threshold to be included in the poll includes ballot access, broad volunteer support, and fundraising. He said the Green Party which garnered 13,000 to get a slate of candidates on the ballot wouldn’t have been able to do it without hundreds of volunteers. In addition, the party has spent as much as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Krayeske added. Schwartz was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday. Click here and here to learn more about the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate.