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Libertarians To Lose Status in N.C.

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina appears likely to lose their ballot spot and official recognition from the state. This would be the first time in about 9 years that the LP was not recognized in the state, which is notorious for having difficult ballot access laws.

The Article

Libertarians could lose their official status as a political party in North Carolina because they failed to get at least 10 percent of the votes cast in last year’s gubernatorial and presidential races.

The State Board of Elections has scheduled time during a teleconference meeting Monday to discuss the party’s standing. Sean Haugh, the party’s executive director, said Friday he and party Chairman Thomas Hill will participate from Raleigh.

Along with the missed vote totals, the party has gathered only 25,000 of the nearly 70,000 signatures it needs to stay alive. Only Democrats and Republicans would be entitled to appear on ballots in partisan elections.

Haugh conceded that the party has failed to meet the state requirements, but said he hopes that the elections board will use its discretion to allow the party to remain on the ballot.

“It’s simply in their best interests,” he said. “If they did de-certify us they would have to send a mailing to all 13,000 members of the Libertarian Party.

“It would be very expensive and time-consuming.”

Libertarians have appeared on ballots in North Carolina continuously since 1996. About a half-dozen municipal leaders belong to the party, along with several members of county soil and water district boards and a county surveyor.

Elections board chairman Larry Leake, a Democrat from Asheville, said Libertarians have used up their grace period.

“They either have the petition signatures,” Leake said, “or they don’t.”

If the party disappears, registered Libertarians would become unaffiliated voters. Even Iraq, Hill noted, has more than two parties.

“They had a lot more choices on their ballot than ours, and that’s just vulgar,” he said.

In North Carolina, starting a new party and keeping one on the ballot are five times harder than in the median state, said Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News.

Libertarians plan a court challenge to the state’s laws for starting new parties if the party is stripped of its status, Haugh said. Such a decision would unfairly disqualify Libertarian candidates in coming elections in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, he said.

There are nearly 2.5 million registered Democrats and 1.8 million registered Republicans in North Carolina. Just more than one million people are registered as unaffiliated voters.

One Response to “Libertarians To Lose Status in N.C.”

  1. R.D. Says:

    Being from N.C., not entirely unexpected. I’ve never seen a Libertarian get above 2% in a three candidate race, and the only publicity I’ve ever seen one get is gubernatorial candidate Barbara Howe getting some pre-election press from the Raleigh News & Observer.

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