While many Eugeneans have already settled on voting for Democrats or Republicans in the Nov. 6 election, other parties are on the ballot, and third parties are actively registering new voters. According to the Oregon Blue Book, about 26 percent of Oregon voters were registered with third parties or are unaffiliated with a party.
Pat Driscoll, Pacific Green Party candidate for Oregon state treasurer, says that in the upcoming election, the Green Party’s goal is to provide voters with information and alternatives on issues and give voters a broader point of view than they see from the two “corporate parties.”
Driscoll says that environmental destruction, corruption in the banking industry, targeted kills abroad and the deaths of innocents by remote drone control all go completely unchecked under President Obama, so it’s hard to consider him the lesser of two evils. “When you talk about evil, what line do you have to cross before recognizing that certain actions — like murder, theft, torture, destruction of the environment — are those actions enough on their own to warrant saying, ‘I’m not voting for that; that’s a line I’m not willing to cross’?” Driscoll asks.
While the Green Party is known for its pro-environment positions, Driscoll says that the biggest misconception voters have about the Greens is that they’re only concerned with sustainability. “We’re also very supportive of social and economic justice and also peace and nonviolence,” he says. “Our four pillars of the Green Party are sustainability, social and economic justice, grassroots democracy and peace and nonviolence.”
To make the elections process more inclusive of third parties, Driscoll thinks that barriers to participating in events such as debates need to be removed. “Any candidate who’s on the ballot should be in front of the American people,” he says, citing Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s presence on 85 percent of U.S. ballots this year. He says that getting the money out of politics is also vital to leveling the playing field.
Driscoll says that about 11,000 Oregonians are registered with the Green Party, including about 2,000 voters registered in 2012. About 69 percent of Oregon’s Green Party voters were born after 1980, he says.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson debated for the Independent Voter Network Oct. 17, and footage can been viewed at wkly.ws/1dj. EW did not get a response to an interview request with a representative from the Oregon Libertarian Party, but you can check out our interview on marijuana regulation with Libertarian vice-presidential candidate James P. Gray at wkly.ws/1dk