California Greens registered
The California Green Party has signed up more than the 80,000 voters needed to give it ballot status under the state's electoral laws. The registration campaign took 18 months.
"Californians now have an alternative, an activist party standing for ecology, social justice, diversity, peace and grassroots democracy", said spokesperson Hank Chapot of Oakland.
By mid-December, the Greens were registering more than 500 new voters daily around the state as they worked towards an expected total of 85,000 by the December 31 deadline. The party needed a minimum of 78,992 to qualify.
The campaign faced active opposition from Democratic Party leaders, who offered jobs to Green organisers, tried to dissuade potential registrants and sought to have Green voter cards disallowed.
California and Alaska are now the only US states with registered Green parties, but Greens are presently carrying out ballot drives in other states, including Pennsylvania, Hawaii and Missouri.
The new party will focus on local politics and will place a high priority on building connections with activists in diverse communities and social change movements.
"We will use the next few months to mobilise and involve our members in decision making for the party and in taking action", said spokesperson Mindy Lorenz of Ventura. She added that power will be concentrated at local, not state level.
Although the Greens will not appear on the ballot until June 1992, they hope to make an impact well before then. "We are not only an electoral group", said Chapot. "We will be on the street, organising for the environmental and social justice issues the established parties ignore."