PHOENIX – Arizonans may not get a chance to vote Green at the next election.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett announced Wednesday the number of people who selected to register as party members has dropped below the legal minimum. That leaves just four official parties: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Americans Elect.
That last party also is in trouble: Bennett said its registration also does not have sufficient registrants. But he said that, by virtue of being a new party in Arizona in 2011, it is entitled to keep its ballot status through the 2014 election.
Bennett said that state law requires a political party to have at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor or president at the most recent election. In this case, the computation against the 2012 presidential race requires the Green Party to have 21,499 people registered.
The most recent voter count had just 5,601 Green Party adherents.
The party can get back its ballot status the way it got it in the first place: Submit sufficient signatures. In this case, any new party can qualify for the 2014 ballot by submitting 23,041 valid signatures by Feb. 27.
A call to Angel Torres, the party's co-chair, was not immediately returned, but Bennett said he has been told the party is already circulating the petitions seeking ballot recognition for 2014.
“We look forward to its return,” he said in a prepared statement.