Dr Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, has been arrested while protesting on the Hofstra University campus where tonight's presidential debate is to take place. This is the second time Stein has been arrested while campaigning this year.
Stein and her vice-presidential nominee, Cheri Honkala, were conducting a campaign rally and protest against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which has kept all third party candidates off the debate stage, when they were arrested. On August 2, Stein was arrested for protesting against Fannie Mae bank foreclosures in Philadelphia, as reported by Digital Journal.
Dr. Stein will appear on 85% of ballots on November 6th, and despite the lack of media coverage and consequent poor name recognition, Stein recently polled 2-3% in four consecutive national polls. Stein's campaign also qualified for federal matching funds.
Nevertheless, the CPD has refused to allow her to participate. Stein and her supporters were confronted by ranks of police officers as they tried to enter the grounds, according to a Green Party campaign press release. They were physically prevented from advancing. Stein and Honkala sat down at which point they were charged with "obstructing traffic" and taken into custody at about 6:30 PM this evening.
Jill Stein for President staffer and lawyer Alex Howard called the charge "bogus" as there was no through-traffic during the incident.
Although the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) claims to be "nonpartisan," the Stein campaign notes that it serves the interests of the Democrats and Republicans by excluding other party candidates. Gary Johnson, who is also on the ballot in most states and polling as high as Stein, if not higher, has also been prevented from participating.
The third party candidates will conduct their own debates. On Thursday, October 18 The Independent Voter Network will host a debate between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson at 7:00 PM EST.
On Monday, October 22 Democracy Now will continue its "Expanding the Debate" series with Jill Stein and Justice Party nominee Rocky Anderson.
On Thursday, October 23 and Tuesday, October 30, the Free and Equal Election's Alternative Debate will be live online at 9:00 PM EST and will include Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode from the Constitution Party and Rocky Anderson.