Ballot access reform just took another step forward in North Carolina. The House Elections and Ethics Law Committee today approved a bill to lower the signature requirements for a “new” party and independent candidates to get on the statewide ballot.
This is the first time in recent NC history that a ballot access bill has passed one house of the legislature and a committee in the other house.
The vote in committee was 15-8 in favor of SB 656 Voter Freedom Act. There were Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the vote.
The bill could appear on the House calendar on short notice, as early as tomorrow.
So now is the time to call your local representative – and Speaker Tim Moore. Tell the speaker you want to bill to go to the House floor for a vote, and urge your rep to vote for it.
See this earlier post for talking points and a bill summary.
The latest edition of the bill includes a provision to allow a political party to participate in NC's presidential primary if it had a presidential candidate on the ballot in 40 states in the previous presidential election.
North Carolina has a long and proud history of controversial speech. Our Halifax Resolves, Mecklenburg Declaration, and Liberty Point Resolves laid out the concept of an independent America long before Jefferson’s famous Declaration. North Carolina Quakers included determined and vocal abolitionists in the early 1800s. Even today, communities across our state come together in advocating inclusion and equality.Read more
House Bill 200 would end gerrymandering in North Carolina by establishing a nonpartisan system for drawing the state's congressional and legislative voting maps.
The bill has 39 bipartisan co-sponsors in the NC House and is supported by an overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters.
But since it was introduced in February, House Bill 200 has not been given a vote or even a hearing in the NC House Rules Committee.
Common Cause NC is organizing a People's Hearing for House Bill 200 at the NC Legislature in Raleigh on Monday, June 5, from 4-6 p.m.
The hearing will give North Carolina citizens the opportunity to voice their support for passage of HB200 and fair voting maps.
Please complete the form below to register for the hearing. If you are not able to attend, you can still submit your comment with the form below and we will deliver your message to legislative leaders on your behalf.Read more
Call Your State Representative and Ask Them To Support SB 656
by Brian Irving
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.
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 voteRead more