Bill Significantly Lowers Ballot Access Barrier

Call Your State Representative and Ask Them To Support SB 656

by Brian Irving
LPNC chair

A bill to significantly lower the signature requirement for parties to qualify for the ballot may soon be heard in the House Elections and Ethics Law Committee. SB 656 Voter Freedom Act of 2017 passed the state Senate unanimously in April. It would lower the signature requirement for a new political party to qualify for the ballot to a flat 10,000 signatures.

The bill would also lower the signatures for an unaffiliated statewide candidate to a flat 5,000 signatures.

This is a major step forward for free, fair, and open elections in North Carolina. We need to do all we can to get this bill passed.

Currently, a new party needs to collect more than 90,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Anyone running statewide as an unaffiliated candidate would have to gather the same number.

Summary

While the bill doesn’t change the ballot retention requirement (two percent of the vote for governor or president), it does reduce the number of signatures a party needs to collect to get on the ballot in the first place.

The bill also lowers signature requirement for unaffiliated candidates running for district offices (General Assembly, Congress, etc.) and local offices from four to three percent of the qualified voters in the district. Signatures need only be gathered in three, rather than four, Congressional districts.

Finally, the bill changes how the winner of a multiple-candidate primary race is determined by lowering the “substantial plurality” from 40 to 30 percent of the total vote

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A Light of Liberty Has Gone Out

by Brian IrvingLeenewsmall.jpg

R. Lee Wrights has passed away. Lee was LPNC vice chair for many years, spearheaded several of our ballot access drives, and is perhaps best know for his run for the LP presidential nomination in 2012 under the banner "I Am Not At War."

Lee was more than a friend to me and to many others in the libertarian movement in North Carolina and across the nation. He was a mentor, and role model, and a brother. I am comforted by the belief we shared, that he is now, finally, at peace.

On behalf of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina, which he loved and served so well, I extend our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the Wrights family.

See this story in Independent Political Report. 

Mary Ruwart: Liberty lost a great champion today.

The presidential candidate debate at the 2012  Libertarian Party National Convention was an example of R. Lee Wrights at his finest.

Tribute to R. Lee Wrights, by Shane Killian

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Senate Bill Lowers Barrier for New Parties

The state Senate passed a bill (SB 656) yesterday to lower the signature requirement for a new political party to qualify for the ballot to a flat 10,000 signatures. This is a step forward for free, fair, and open elections in North Carolina. A similar bill with the same name, HB 769, never received a hearing in the House elections committee.

It didn't appear either bill would go anywhere. The Senate bill has only one Republican sponsor while the House bill has several Republican and Democrat sponsors. I wasn't paying attention to SB65 and completely missed how quickly it progressed through the Senate. 

What this means is that the possibility of achieving real ballot access reform is still alive in this General Assembly session.

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