The Green Party has established enough national presence to gain the same legal status as the Republican and Democratic parties, regulators ruled Thursday.
The Federal Election Commission voted 6-0 to recognize the Green Party of the United States as a national committee.
That means the national Green Party can now accept donations of up to $20,000 a year per donor and pass money on to state and local party committees.
National recognition for the Green Party will make the party's efforts in Douglas County and Kansas that much stronger, local party leaders said.
"I look forward to continued growth of the party," said Richard Morantz, Baldwin, former Kansas Green co-chairman. "It's especially important because the two major political parties and their values are so much alike now. People are looking for an alternative."
Maria Stockett, Lawrence, agreed.
"It's just another sign that the Green Party is becoming more established," she said.
In Douglas County and Kansas, Green Party supporters will concentrate on supporting their candidates for nonpartisan elections, such as the Lawrence City Commission, Morantz and Stockett said.
In Kansas candidates can't register as a Green Party candidate or as a Green Party voter, so it's hard to accurately tell how many potential party members there are in the state.
But during last year's presidential election, Douglas County became one of the nation's top 20 supporters of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
Morantz said he recently stepped down as Kansas party co-chairman because of personal commitments. A replacement has yet to be picked. Brigitte Roussel, Wichita, is the other party co-chairwoman.