October 14, 2008
Tim McKee, CT Green Party spokesperson, cell (860)778-1304 (Best) or (860)-643-2282, timmckee at mail.com
Mike DeRosa, State Co-Chair, (860)956-8170 or (860)919-4042 (cell)
Ask others to report any exclusion of third party candidates in classrooms
Hartford, CT - Green Party leaders today argued against students being told and taught that there are only two parties in the upcoming elections. Tim McKee, a Green Party spokesperson, said, "With millions of people voting for a third party in 2008, teaching our students that there are only two candidates for President or Congress is both factually wrong and morally wrong." Three million people voted for Greens in 2000, and 2008 polls have shown Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr, and Independent candidate Ralph Nader combined at between 3 and 6%, meaning over 6 million people could vote third party this election.
McKee cited two examples. Local newspapers are running continuous "Student Mock Elections" sections for use in the classroom, where the students work on projects that feature ONLY the Democrat and the Republican candidates for President. He said this continues to be a problem, election after election, as third party candidates or independents are shut out of the classroom discussion and curriculum. McKee added, "If a student says they want to vote for a third party candidate, such as the Green Party or Ralph Nader, I don't know what the teacher might say or do to the student in the classroom. I know in the past, some students have been upset that they were told they must work on projects or vote only for the two major party candidates."
McKee said the issue hit home with him, as a returning older student at Central Connecticut State University, for several reasons.
First, he was concerned when the Green Party candidate for Congress in the 5th District, Harold Burbank, was excluded from a debate on campus and the school canceled the entire debate. He thinks students should be given a chance to hear from candidates like Burbank and make up their own minds.
Second, when a campus-wide polling question was emailed to the students, they were asked only if they were voting for either McCain or Obama. McKee said, "College students are smarter than that, and they know they have other options, but they were not given a choice or chance to voice a third or fourth option." He added, "In light of the recent campus controversy about a third party candidate, you would think the campus would be more sensitive to the issue of inclusion of third party candidates."
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