LP Has Ballot Status in 30 States Following 2012 Elections, Including in D.C. For First Time Ever

The following is the text from a February 11th entry on lp.org:

Following the 2012 election, the Libertarian Party has ballot access in 30 states and, for the first time ever, the District of Columbia.

The LP:

  • Retained party status in Alaska, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wyoming.
  • Gained party status in D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • Lost ballot access in Arkansas, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.
  • Can now run a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016 and the U.S. House 2nd District in Connecticut in 2014 without petitioning.
  • Can continue to run statewide candidates in Georgia.

In some states, ballot access was not affected by 2012 election results, usually because either the LP achieved four-year ballot access in 2010 or because there are sufficient registered Libertarians to meet the state’s requirement.

Bruce Majors, the Libertarian Party candidate for delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, won ballot access for the LP in Washington, D.C., for the first time in the party’s history. Majors won 16,524 votes, more than double the 7,500 needed for ballot access. He finished in second place behind the incumbent Democrat, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and well ahead of the Statehood Green Party candidate.

For the second time ever, the West Virginia LP has won ballot access in the state, thanks to the campaign of David Moran for governor. He pulled in 8,760 votes, or 1.3 percent, surpassing the 1 percent required for ballot status.

In ballot access victories for the LP resulting from U.S. Senate campaigns, Joseph Kexel won 61,904 votes (2.1 percent), gaining ballot access in Wisconsin; Scotty Bowman won 84,198 votes (1.8 percent), retaining ballot access in Michigan; and Paul Passarelli won 25,059 votes (1.7 percent), allowing the LP to run a U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut in 2016, as well as a U.S. House 2nd District candidate in 2014, without petitioning.

In his race for Alaska’s only U.S. House district, Jim McDermott received 11,051 votes, or 5 percent, in a 4-way race, which retained ballot access for the state.

Richard Brubaker of Wyoming’s only U.S. House district won 8,286 votes, or 3.4 percent, in a 5-way race, easily exceeding the 2 percent needed to retain ballot access in the state.

Gov. Gary Johnson won 3.5 percent of the vote in his home state of New Mexico, well over the 0.5 percent required to retain ballot access there for two more years. Johnson’s votes in Nevada also met the threshold necessary to retain LP ballot access in that state.

David Staples, candidate for the Georgia Public Service Commission 5th District, won 1,082,481 votes, blowing by the 58,049 votes (1 percent of registered voters) needed to enable Libertarian statewide candidates to run for office without petitioning for the next two years.

In a few states, such as Minnesota, New Jersey, and Tennessee, where ballot access is difficult to achieve, getting candidates on the ballot is relatively easy. In Massachusetts, achieving ballot access actually makes getting candidates on the ballot more difficult, although having party status provides other benefits, such as listing the Libertarian Party as a choice on voter registration forms.

Vermont is among the 30 states where the LP is recognized as a party because it met the requirement to organize in 10 towns in late 2011. The LP must repeat this process in 2013 to maintain party status.

10 thoughts on “LP Has Ballot Status in 30 States Following 2012 Elections, Including in D.C. For First Time Ever

  1. George Phillies

    Thank you for getting Massachusetts right.

    Note that if we do not have major party status, people must actually write the word “libertarian” to register Libertarian, meaning they are more likely to have some interest in the party.

  2. Andy

    “George Phillies // Feb 15, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Thank you for getting Massachusetts right.

    Note that if we do not have major party status, people must actually write the word ‘libertarian’ to register Libertarian, meaning they are more likely to have some interest in the party.”

    I can certainly understand the point you make about how the petition signature gathering becomes more difficult once a party gets major party status, because although the number of signatures required remains the same, when you get major party status in Massachusetts, only registered voters under your party banner, or those who are registered to vote as independents/decline to state a political party – which is known as “unenrolled” in Massachusetts – can sign the petition, but when you do not have major party status, any registered voter can sign the petition.

    The ultimate goal is for the party to grow, so unless the ballot access laws change in Massachusetts, this is a hurdle that is going to have to be overcome at some point.

    I do not agree that it is better for a person registering to vote to have to print the name of the party on the voter registration form rather than being able to check a box with the party label already printed next to it on the form. A lot of people who would register Libertarian may not realize that they can write the name of the party in or may not even think of writing the name of the party in if it is not already on the form. Also, it makes the Democratic Party and Republican Party appear as though they are the more “legitimate” parties since they are already printed on the forms, and a lot of people will assume that any party that is not written on the form is not legitimate.

    Will some people who don’t really understand what libertarianism is check the Libertarian Party box if it is already printed on the forum? Sure, some will, but from my experience the majority of people who register as Libertarians have at least somewhat of an idea what the party is, even if they do not follow the regular happenings in the Libertarian Party. Also, those few people who check the Libertarian Party box without really knowing what it is are still useful, because their status as registered Libertarians can help the party maintain ballot access (in a lot of the states that have partisan voter registration anyway, and this is true in Massachusetts), and as it specifically relates to Massachusetts, these people will also be able to sign ballot access petitions for Libertarian Party candidates when the party has major party status. Having a Libertarian Party check box on the voter registration forms has definitely helped the party in the states that have this.

  3. George Phillies

    @3

    Under our ballot access laws, your approach is completely wrong. I have gone over this here on a regular basis.

    We do have candidate who ergularly approach the Libertarian-registered voters who had but to check the box. They may be divided with high approximation between people with no interest in the party at the ‘I will not sign your petition when you are at my front door’ level and the ‘I am grateful to you for telling how to fix my registration, and will remember that Libertarians are nice people even if I am not one’ level.

  4. George Phillies

    We do have candidates who regularly approach the Libertarian-registered voters who had but to check the box. The voters may be divided with high approximation between people with no interest in the party at the ‘I will not sign your petition when you are at my front door’ level and the ‘I am grateful to you for telling how to fix my registration, because I am a Democrat, and will remember that Libertarians are nice people even if I am not one’ level.

  5. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    A penny saved is a penny earned. – Ben Franklin

    By saving these pennies, perhaps the LP can do more advertising, hence increasing membership and vote totals. A WIN WIN for the LP in 2014 and beyond.

    Time to GROW the LP to a national recognized political Party. Time to make the LP Solutions known to every american voter for the first time in LP history. Time to make a difference. It’s a GOOD time to be a part of the LPUS.

    Carpe Diem

  6. Richard Winger

    #1, you’re right, Gary Johnson is the first LP presidential nominee to get enough votes to keep the party on the Nevada ballot. In 1996 Harry Browne was 38 votes short. It didn’t matter, though, because in 1996 some Libertarians running for county office got enough votes to keep the party on. In 2012, we would have gone off the ballot if Gary Johnson hadn’t done so well.

  7. Richard Winger

    When people talk about whether Massachusetts ballot access is easier or harder, depending on whether the party is ballot-qualified or not, they should differentiate between presidential ballot access and ballot access for other office.

    When the party is on the ballot in Massachusetts, no petition whatsoever is needed for the presidential nominee to be put on the November ballot. Also no petition is needed for Libertarians running for president in the Massachusetts presidential primary. So clearly, for president only, it is far, far better for the party to be ballot-qualified.

    But for other office, George and the report itself are correct; it is easier to get on the November ballot if the party is not ballot-qualified. There is a bill pending to reduce the petition burden for all kinds of petition, primary and general.

  8. Andy

    “George Phillies // Feb 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

    We do have candidates who regularly approach the Libertarian-registered voters who had but to check the box. The voters may be divided with high approximation between people with no interest in the party at the ‘I will not sign your petition when you are at my front door’ level and the ‘I am grateful to you for telling how to fix my registration, because I am a Democrat, and will remember that Libertarians are nice people even if I am not one’ level.”

    California has partisan voter registration, and the Libertarian Party has had a check box on California voter registration forms since the 1980′s. Several years back I did some volunteer fund raising for the Libertarian Party of California, and one of the things we did was call up people who had registered Libertarian but who were not members of the party. My experience is that most of the people whom I talked to who fit this criteria did have at least a vague idea what the party was about, not all of them donated, but it was not so bad that they did were all clueless as to what the party is.

    Also, I have gathered I don’t even know how many thousands of petition signatures in California, and I’ve registered several thousand people to vote in California as well, and my experience in the field is that most of the people I encountered who said that they were registered Libertarians, or who checked the Libertarian Party box on the voter registration form had at least somewhat of an idea what the party is. This was not like the American Independent Party, where most of the people registered under that party’s banner do not know what it is.

    If things are radically different in Massachusetts, where most of the people registered Libertarian do not have a clue what the party is and/or actually intended to register under a different party banner but checked the Libertarian Party box by mistake, then I don’t know why this would be the case. Maybe Massachusetts has more stupid people than California.

  9. Nick

    Good! This means the LP will use less resources for ballot access and more for actual campaigning. Maybe they can take the next big step and get matching funds.

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