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Anti-war party qualifies for California ballot

by Jim Smith Tuesday, Mar. 18, 2003 at 6:36 AM
jsmith@la-peaceandfreedom.org 310-399-2215 POB 644, Venice CA 90294

Riding a wave of anti-war sentiment, the Peace and Freedom Party has requalified for the ballot after 4 years off. It has opposed every U.S. military adventure since it was founded in 1967.

THE PEACE AND FREEDOM PARTY IS
BACK ON THE CALIFORNIA BALLOT

In a historic comeback after being off the ballot since 1998, the Peace and Freedom Party has obtained sufficient registrations to re-qualify for ballot status.The party's registration reached an official count of 79,462 on February 10, more than 2,000 over the 77,389 needed. This capped a three-year registration campaign in which more than 40,000 new registrations - including 13,000 since January 1 - were collected.

This is the first time in California's history that a political party has come back, after being off the ballot for two or more general elections. It is also the first time in more than 60 years that a socialist party has qualified for the ballot. When the Peace and Freedom Party originally gained ballot status in 1967, it identified itself as an anti-war, pro-civil rights organization. It was not until 1974, that the Party declared itself to be socialist.

"Gray Davis and George W. Bush helped the Peace and Freedom Party in our effort," said P&F State Chairperson Marsha Feinland. "Lower voter turnout for the last governor's race lowered our required numbers, while the war drive, the anti-civil liberties Patriot Act and cuts in social services have driven thousands of Democrats, independents and previous non-voters into our Party. We intend to run active campaigns throughout the state that include focusing on peace, free health care and education, low-cost housing, justice and equality, as well as decent jobs and incomes for all working people," she added.

The Party's drive to ballot status was hampered by stringent "purges" instituted by former Secretary of State Bill Jones. Under his policy - which is still in effect - those who did not vote in two consecutive elections were mailed a post card to determine if they were still residing at the same address. If the card was returned by the post office, the voter was removed from the active rolls and placed on an inactive list. This policy hit apartment dwellers harder that home owners since the post office will not deliver mail if the apartment number is omitted. Others lost their active voting status because of mistakes by the post office or by county voter registration clerks. In one purge alone, in Los Angeles County last December, 181,000 people were deprived of their active voter status, including more than 3,000 Peace and Freedom registrants. The Peace and Freedom Party believes it was removed illegally from the ballot because the Secretary of State refused to count all of its 100,000-plus registrants - both active and inactive - toward its ballot qualification.

Preamble to the Peace and Freedom Party Platform: The Peace and Freedom Party, founded in 1967, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We represent working class people: the employed, the unemployed, people on welfare, the undocumented, the homeless, the incarcerated, retired workers, students and youth, and armed forces enlisted people, of all ethnicities, religions, languages, cultures and sexual orientations -- those without capital in a capitalist society.

For more information: www.peaceandfreedom.org * www.la-peaceandfreedom.org

Contact:
Los Angeles: Jim Smith - 310-399-2215
S.F. Bay Area: Tom Condit - 510-845-7251
Sacramento: C.T. Weber - 916-422-5395
San Diego: Miriam Clark - 760-436-8984
Riverside-San Bernardino: Kevin Akin - 909-787-0318

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