LANSING, Mich. — Michigan voters could have a new choice on the ballot if a new political party gets enough signatures to make the cut.
The Patriot Party of Michigan is the brainchild of Brian Van Dussen.
He says the GOP hasn’t been meeting his expectations and it's time to do something new.
Van Dussen says the Patriot Party will focus on three major things: “Freedom of speech, religious rights we feel are being eroded at this time and obviously the second amendment."
The party lists 6 core issues on its website including:
- Constitutional Conservatism
- Individual Freedom
- Keep America Great
- Small Government
- Term Limits
- Voter Integrity
Van Dussen says if the party makes it onto the ballot, they plan to run candidates in smaller races to start.
“Once we start winning some seats then we will gain momentum and we can go on from there. Eventually, I would like the Patriot Party to be the second major party in Michigan," he said.
Matt Grossmann, a Michigan State University political science professor, says third-party candidates can shape the messaging coming from bigger parties during campaign season.
“There’s some evidence that if the Green Party runs a candidate in a congressional race, it will make the other candidates talk more about the environment. Maybe even make a member of Congress introduce more bills about the environment," said Grossmann.
The Board of Canvassers has just cleared the way for the party to get a place on the ballot but first supporters will need to gather more than 42,000 signatures.
Michigan currently has seven parties who are qualified to be on the ballot: the Democratic Party, Republican Party, the U.S. Taxpayers Party, the Working Class Party, Libertarian Party, Green Party, and Natural Law Party.
If the Patriot Party of Michigan is successful in winning a slot on the ballot, they would become the eighth, but the party would need to get a certain percent of the vote in the next election to remain on the ballot.
Van Dussen says the petitions were picked up on Thursday.
The signatures will have to be turned in by July of 2022 to make the party eligible for a slot on the November 20-22 ballot.
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