Philly Green Party

General Election 2017: The Good and the Bad

Posted in 2017 Philadelphia Municipal Elections, Election Operations on Dec 02, 2017

GPOP Election Operations Working (EOW) Group
Volume 2, #8
November 28, 2017

Dear Green Party Representative.
The 2017 General Election is behind us, and in this Report to Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) Electoral Operations Working Group (EOWG) I will abandon the usual format in order to deal with the election’s results. Naturally, there are both good and bad aspects resulting from the General Election. [You may find Report #7 to the GPOP EOWG on our web page.]

Bad: Jules Mermelstein Finished 9 out of 9
Unfortunately, Jules Mermelstein, the Green Party candidate, received only 106,686 votes state-wide. This was 1.39 percent of the total vote for Judge of Superior Court. Even worse, Jules Mermelstein received even less in Philadelphia, only 1.26 percent of the vote.

Good: Greens Won Six out of Ten Races in PA
In local races, Green Party members won seats on the Quakertown and Stroudsburg School Boards, a Borough Council Seat in Philipsburg, a Judge of Elections in Newtown Township and Elizabethtown, and a Minority Inspector of Elections in Philadelphia. You may read more about these victories here.

Bad: Why only Ten Races
PA is a really big state, and the Green Party should have had many more candidates contesting many more electoral offices. It is even more of a problem here in Philadelphia. The odds of winning an election become much better if there are a multitude of Greens on the ballot. This was explained to me by Representative Bernadette Marie, who said in an email, “I personally think that if we can’t fill more than one position in our very own [Green Party] column, we shouldn’t be surprised if we are the only ones who are pushing that button.” I have not, yet, heard a plan to change this.

Good: GPOP Representatives Did a Fantastic Job
As has been true in past elections, GPOP Representatives did a fantastic job volunteering for the Jules Campaign at nine polling places in Philadelphia. I congratulate these Representatives – Hillary, Charles, Belinda, Murielle and Scott, Beverley, Bernadette Marie, Christian, and Olivia – who joined me in volunteering at their own polling places. Those nine polling places pulled an average of 2.85 percent of the vote for Jules, more than double the Philadelphia average. At four polling places, GPOP Representatives (Hillary, Chris, Murielle & Scott, and Charles) won more than three times the Philadelphia average.

Bad: Why only 9 Polling Places?
During this election, the Green Party had 1,551 Green Party members in Philadelphia. It was a big disappointment to have so few Green Party members volunteering for Jules’ at their own polling places. I consider this to be my personal failure. As leader of this effort, I repeatedly contacted all of our GPOP members about working the polls. I also contacted Representatives who had volunteered during previous elections, for Jill Stein in 2016 and Kristin Combs in 2015, but I was unable to motivate more Greens to become GPOP Representatives.
This is a second failure, following my inability to motivate more Greens to volunteer during the nomination campaign to get Jules Mermelstein on the ballot last spring. (Remember, Philadelphia submitted only 588 out of Jules’ 4,204 nomination signatures.)

Good: Jules did much Better in Other Counties
Jules received a higher proportion of the vote in some of Pennsylvania’s other counties. For instance:
2.11 percent in Susquehanna County,
2.00 percent in Centre County,
1.78 percent in Butler County,
1.78 percent in Erie County,
1.75 percent in Beaver County,
1.74 percent in Allegheny County,
1.55 percent in Chester County,
1.52 percent in Lebanon County,
1.52 percent in York County,
1.45 percent in Lehigh County,
1.39 percent of total in Pennsylvania, but only
1.26 percent in Philadelphia County

Bad: Philadelphia fell short
I am ashamed that Philadelphia was not at the top of the above list. GPOP was founded 16 years ago and our members have a lot of experience. One experienced Green, Hillary, got five percent of the vote at her polling place for Jules. Charles and Belinda also did very well. Where were our other experienced Greens?
In addition, GPOP has many new, energetic members who could have been in the forefront of our electoral work. Scott and Murielle, two of our new Greens, volunteered at their polling place, where Jules got 3.7 percent of the vote. Where were our other new Greens on Election Day?
Okay, I understand that they could not volunteer at the polls because of school, work or travel. One of our new members, Margie, was not able to volunteer at the polls, but Margie did stuff every door in her division with Jules literature. At Margie’s polling place, Jules received 2.8 percent of the vote.
Where were you on Election Day?

Good: 2018 Might Be Better
Now that we have reflected on the good and the bad from this year, it is time to consider how we can turn GPOP around during 2018. As Jill Stein use to remind us, “It is in our hands.”
First, you might become a Green Party Representative for 2018 and join our EOWG. That means you will volunteer on our electoral campaigns by collecting voters’ signatures at your polling place during the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 15, and campaigning for our candidates at your polling place during the General Election on Tuesday, November 6.
Second, you might become a Green Party candidate by running for electoral office. This is not about winning. Running for office is about publicizing the Green Party and what Greens stand for. Running for office is also about gaining experience – experience for you and experience for your campaign volunteers. This is all part of building the Green Party.
Third, GPOP needs a Recording Secretary right now. Will you volunteer?
Fourth, we have an Outreach Working Group. Are you a member of it? No, then volunteer.
Fifth, GPOP has a Communications Working Group. Are you a member of it? No, then volunteer.
Sixth, GPOP will hold elections for our seven-person City Committee (think, “steering committee”) in early 2018. Read about those offices in the GPOP By-Laws, and then run for office. You can really help turn our party around if you are in our leadership committee.

Please email or call me if you would like to volunteer or talk about other ideas you might have.
Chris Robinson, 215-843-4256
Membership Secretary
Green Party of Philadelphia

PS: Members of the GPOP EOW Group are called “Green Party Representatives.” According to a motion approved by the GPOP membership on September 30, 2015, the EOW Group has three tasks: “recruiting Green Party candidates who will campaign for office; organizing people to work on those campaigns; and building an infrastructure that will be able to win electoral campaigns.”

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