I was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana.  After graduating from Indiana University, I accepted a civilian position with the US Army as a pediatric Occupational Therapist for children whose parents were serving in the US military in Germany.  There I learned how fiercely the German people defended their greenspace and intensely proud they were of their land. Public transportation was efficient and accessible, making it possible to travel anywhere in Europe from my little village without a car.  Returning to the States, I lived for 2 years north of Philadelphia before returning to the South Bend area.

 I became active in politics while living in Pennsylvania and carried that passion to the South Bend where I became active in the local Green Party.  The Party’s values of Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Ecological Wisdom and Non-Violence suited me perfectly and seem the path to a better world for everyone.

 The Green Party, indeed any party other than the entrenched duopoly, has a daunting challenge in gaining any foot-hold in Indiana because state election laws make ballot access for third parties or independents nearly impossible.  Only three parties have unlimited ballot access in Indiana; Democrat, Republican and Libertarian.  After the Libertarian Party gained general ballot access, the state legislature raised the bar for any other party or independent to put a name on the ballot for public office.  As it stands now, the state demands a candidate collect signatures of registered voters totaling 2% of the number of votes cast for Secretary of State in the precinct or district for the seat being sought.  The signatures then must be certified by the county Voter Registration office to be counted. (Not only is Indiana’s ballot access requirement difficult to explain and comprehend, it is nearly impossible to acquire the number of signatures for a small party with limited resources).  Indiana is one of the most restrictive states for ballot access in the nation.

 The danger of limited ballot access is the potential for abuse and complacency by elected officials serving the two parties dominating the elections.   Election officials across the state, including St Joe county, have repeatedly refused to count the votes cast for legitimate candidates, thus denying the candidates, their parties and the public vital information about the candidate or party’s baseline of support and worse, disenfranchising thousands of voters.  Although it is a federal offense to not count legitimately cast votes, the State Election Board does not enforce election laws and most small parties and independent candidates lack the funds needed to mount a lawsuit against county election boards to force them to properly count all the votes.

Without access to the ballot box, candidates, parties and most importantly voters who have been denied their constitutional right to participate in the American democratic process have no recourse.  Without ballot access, new ideas have very little chance of becoming part of public policy unless they happen to serve the interests (typically financial) of the party in power.

What could happen if small parties could challenge the current duopoly of power?  What would happen if voters had a choice of 5, 20 or even 30 parties at the ballot box, as is common in many other much more progressive democracies?  What if voters could rank their candidates in order of preference with the winner being the person with the most first and second place votes (also called instant run-off voting)?

If we only connect the strong and growing voices (at least 23% in the last election) for initiatives and progressive candidates ready to address critical issues such as global climate change, human rights and common-sense tax abatement ordinances, we can make South Bend a live-able, sustainable and socially-just city.

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5 Responses to “About”

  1. Becky R. Says:

    Great blog. Thanks, Kathleen, for your vision, strength and determination to improve our community. Your work is a source of inspiration and hope!

  2. bibomedia Says:

    🙂

  3. kathleen61 Says:

    Thanks for visiting my site, bibomedia. What is it you like about it?

  4. Jennifer G Says:

    This is a great blog site! Even though I don’t live anywhere near South Bend anymore, I am pleased to have someone keeping Green Party initiative in sight for me. Keep up the good work–I’ll tune in regularly!

  5. kathleen61 Says:

    Thank you Jennifer, and thanks for visiting!

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