In an act of civil disobedience to protest their exclusion from the presidential debates, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested outside the site of the second debate on Tuesday.
Stein and Honkala attempted to enter the debate hall at Hofstra University, but were refused entry by police because they lacked credentials.
Stein said the presidential debate was a “mockery of democracy” because it only included Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. Stein will appear on about 85 percent of state ballots this year. Another presidential candidate, Libertarian Gary Johnson, will also be on the ballot in at least 47 states. But neither third-party candidate will be included in the presidential debates.
After failing to outmaneuver a number of police officers who had created a blockade, Stein and Honkala sat down in the middle of the street. They were informed by an officer that if they did not move, then they would be arrested for blocking traffic.
Honkala responded that she didn’t want to block traffic, she just wanted to get into the debate. Stein and Honkala were then arrested without incident.
The debate rules specify that to be included, candidates must receive at least 15 percent in a major poll. Most major polls do not even list Stein and Johnson as an option. Televised presidential debates date back to 1960, and have been a regular event since the 1976 election. Originally administered by the League of Women Voters, they’ve been jointly organized by the Democratic and Republican parties through the Commission on Presidential Debates—a group the two parties jointly formed—since 1987.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Long Island Report, below:
With prior reporting by Jonathan Terbush