Failing to garner enough Green Independent Party signatures to get her name on the ballot, Bar Harbor attorney Lynne Williams announced March 15 that she is suspending her campaign for governor.

Williams, a member of the Bar Harbor Planning Board and former head of the Maine Green Independent Party, said in a press release that despite having more than 60 volunteers circulating petitions on her behalf, she failed to gather the required 2,000 Green Independent Party member signatures needed to put her name on the party’s primary ballot.

Instead, Williams said she would redirect her efforts toward supporting Green Party candidates in their bids for various state, county and local office elections.

“While I will not be on the November ballot as a candidate for governor, the party’s candidate recruitment efforts were very successful,” Williams said in the press release. “We have quality candidates who can win elections, and who will make a major difference in Augusta. Strong local candidates are the backbone of any political party, and our efforts on behalf of these local candidates will do more to build the party than a gubernatorial race would have.”

Williams cited problems with physically locating the small number of Maine voters enrolled in the Green Party as a major stumbling block in her campaign’s signature-gathering effort. She said there are fewer than 30,000 active Green Party voters statewide, a high percentage of whom are college students who joined in the past four years and have since relocated.

“Green Independents from 93 towns and all 16 counties signed those forms in the 74 days we had to gather the signatures,” Williams said. “But it was slow going. It was hard to find our members. Not only had many of them moved, but with the popularity of cell phones, only about a third of them had listed phone numbers.”

Williams blamed the slow campaigning on voter apathy and what she deemed “the general public’s current disgust and distrust of government.”

“The two-party turmoil in Washington and Augusta has taken its toll,” she said. “We found many people turned off by the gridlock. It was hard to get people engaged in January and February over something they didn’t perceive would affect them until June or November. The fact that as of last week only one of the seven Democrats and just four of the seven Republican Party candidates for governor had filed their nomination papers tells me that this is a universal problem.”

Also at issue for Williams were additional requirements in the state’s Clean Election Law, imposed by the Maine Legislature in 2009 after Williams announced her candidacy for governor. Williams is charging the Democrats with attempting to block a Green Party candidate for governor by legislating away the requirement that the parties had to run a gubernatorial candidate in order to maintain party status. This change, Williams alleges, served to discourage small parties from taking advantage of Clean Election funding, severing their ability to field a well-funded candidate.

In announcing her failure to garner the necessary signatures, Williams took a swipe at the new requirement that Clean Election candidates for governor must raise $40,000 in private funding — under much stricter requirements than those imposed on traditional gubernatorial candidates — before qualifying for public funding.

“Basically the Legislature said that in order to not be dependent on private campaign funds we had to be dependent on private campaign funds,” she said. “It’s an illogical requirement that flies in the face of the intent of the law and is disrespectful of the citizens who voted to approve the Clean Election Act.”

Williams said that requiring the $40,000 to come from Maine registered voters amounts to forcing a system of double taxation, “if they wanted the law to work as intended.”

“This was an irresponsible act on the part of the Democratically controlled Legislature,” Williams said.

To counter, Williams said she believed having members of the Green Independent Party serving in the Maine Legislature would provide “needed checks and balances on the two-party system.”

“We’re not the party of big government and we’re not the party of no government,” she said. “We’re the party of good government. The Green Independent Party offers what we believe most Maine voters are looking for — independence from the two big-money parties, and a government based on local control and sustainability.”

• Candidates vying for party nominations in the June 8 primary must file their party nomination petitions with the Secretary of State’s Office no later than 5 p.m. Monday, March 15, pursuant to Maine statute

In the race for governor, 2,000 party signatures are required for a candidate’s name to be placed on the June ballot.

Nonparty or unenrolled candidates have until June 1 to submit their signatures in order to appear on the November election ballot. While they have longer to circulate petitions, they must gather twice as many signatures and can collect them from any registered voter in the district they wish to represent.

Candidates successful at obtaining their party’s nomination in June will appear on the November general election ballot.