N. C. Drops Ballot Access Improvement

From Ballot Access News:

On Saturday, August 13, the North Carolina Senate passed HB1115. However, before passing it, they deleted the modest ballot access improvement that had been contained in that bill.

HB1115 is a very large bill, containing all the election law changes desired by the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections wrote into the bill a provision lowering the number of signatures for a statewide independent, from 2% of the registered voters, to 2% of the last gubernatorial vote. The State Board of Elections did this because last year a federal court struck down the existing requirement, and the State Board wants to eliminate laws that have been declared unconstitutional.

Although the House had passed HB1115 in the form requested by the State Board of Elections, the Senate deleted this part of the bill.

In the meantime, H88, which lowers both types of petition to one-half of 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, has not made any headway recently, although it is still alive.

The Senate’s action on August 13 can be interpreted in two ways. The optimistic way is: if the Senate is actually more sympathetic to more comprehensive ballot access liberalization, it might have deleted the State Board’s provision to signal its attitude that it prefers the H88 approach. The pessimistic way is: if the Senate is vehemently against any ballot access reform at all, it might have deleted the State Board’s provision just to show its displeasure with last year’s court decision. Or perhaps the Senate still doesn’t know what to do about ballot access, so it is just postponing doing anything until next year.

2 Responses to “N. C. Drops Ballot Access Improvement”

  1. Seth Dilday Says:

    North Carolina has, depending on how you look at it, the second or third most difficult ballot access laws in the country; yet the North Carolina Libertarian Party has managed to maintain continuous ballot access since the early 1990’s. Presently, though, the state party faces potential decertification and the removal of its candidates from this November’s ballot if the North Carolina Board of Elections so rules.

    It’s a draining process, trying to acquire 100,000 signatures, and the LPNC could use all the help it can get, from within North Carolina and without. Information on the LPNC’s ballot access drive (including how to contribute) is online at http://www.lpnc.org/get_involved/ballot_access.html .

  2. Sean Haugh Says:

    I spoke with Gary Bartlett, Executive Director of the NC State Board of Elections, yesterday and he did not have a theory as to why the Senate chose that part of the bill to mess with beyond just more legislative games between the two chambers. It certainly adds a piece of evidence for our impending lawsuit, one more example of the General Assembly acting in bad faith when it comes to NC ballot access.

    Thanks for the boffo blog.

    Sean Haugh
    Executive Director, LPNC

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