CLEMMONS, N.C., May 22—At its 2018 annual convention, the Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) adopted two new platform planks that aim to reduce the partisan influence on the administration of elections while giving parties more control over which candidates may carry their banners into a general election.
The first plank calls for North Carolina to replace its state and local boards of elections with an independent agency. Currently, these boards are constituted along party lines, with all or most seats set aside for representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties.
The second plank asserts that party organizations should have the sole right, and the sole responsibility, to name nominees for elected office. Whatever manner a party chooses, whether a caucus, convention, primary election, or other means, it should be at the party’s expense, not the public’s. The full text of both planks is appended below.
“North Carolina politics is starting to open up, and these policy declarations are meant to help accelerate that process,” LPNC Chair Susan Hogarth said. “In a state where over a third of the voters are registered neither Republican nor Democrat, and which has five recognized parties, it’s purely ridiculous to give control of the election process to just two of them.” Hogarth was referring to the ballot status of the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution parties in addition to the major institutional parties.
Hogarth also praised the move to put nominating control back in party hands. “Elections belong to everyone, but nominations are not elections,” she said. “When we treat primaries as ‘first-round’ elections in which people outside a party can determine that party’s choice for office, we not only distort the democratic process, but also use public funds inappropriately.”
The nomination process was an issue in the May 8 Libertarian primary for Randolph County Sheriff, where longtime Republican Eric Hicks openly declared his stratagem of “hijacking” the LPNC nomination because his other legal paths to the general election were too difficult. Marshaling many primary voters who were not LPNC members, Hicks defeated Libertarian candidate Adam Brooks over the state party’s objections.
State law makes it possible for any qualified citizen to run for office as an independent candidate, with or without the support of a party. But to run as the nominee of a recognized party, a candidate should have the affirmative approval of fellow voters who are actually members of that party, Hogarth explained.
In March, the state elections board welcomed Damon Circosta as its first formally independent member, alongside eight Democrats and eight Republicans. The LPNC welcomed Circosta’s appointment but asserted that the state and local boards should move further away from their traditional domination by two parties. Even the official name of the state body—the “Bipartisan Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement”—still codes the idea of “two” into this public function.
Text of the two new LPNC Platform plank approved by convention delegates May 20, 2018:
The LPNC calls for establishment of an independent agency to administer all elections in North Carolina, replacing the bipartisan state and county boards of elections.
The LPNC holds that a political party, not the State, should be the sole determiner of who runs under its banner in an election. Parties should be able to select their candidates in any manner they choose, including primaries, conventions, caucuses, nominating committees, or even drawing straws. If the party decides to use primaries, that party and that party alone should conduct and pay for them.
The 2018 LPNC Convention was held in Clemmons from May 18-20. Follow the @LPNC on Twitter, like @LPofNC on Facebook, and keep up with news from the party at www.lpnc.org.