NC Legislature Approves Most Significant Ballot Access Reform Bill in Decades

The most significant ballot access reform law in decades will become law. The General Assembly has overridden Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of SB 656 Electoral Freedom Act. 

This bill lowers the barriers for political parties to gain ballot access from two percent to 0.25 percent of the vote for governor. 

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina joined the North Carolina Green Party and Constitution Paty of North Carolina in hailing the veto override with this joint statement:

“Our state’s election laws have long imposed excessive and unreasonable requirements on new political parties and unaffiliated candidates far and above the standard in most states. A viable and vibrant democratic process requires that ballot access laws encourage and promote – not limit – the individual's right to self-government by securing their right to free choice at the ballot box. It’s about time North Carolina reduced those burdens.

 “At its heart, this is a voting rights bill. It is unfortunate that the media has ignored the most significant parts of this bill. The judicial primary provision is only a minor part of the bill and it only affects one election in one year. The bulk of this bill will give voters more choices in more elections for many more years. 

“This is the most dramatic improvement in ballot access anywhere in the nation in 20 years, when Florida reduced its petition barrier for offices, other than president, for both minor parties and independents from three percent of the number of registered voters to zero, according to ballot access expert Richard Winger. 

“This bill could also influence policy across the nation. Republican-majority legislatures in Tennessee and Indiana, and perhaps Alabama, may pass similar bills. 

“Our three parties have been working together on this issue for decades, despite our differences on other issues. We’ve also had the support of individual Democrats and Republicans, as well as public policy groups from across the political spectrum, most notably Free the Vote North Carolina. 

“We are also grateful to former Sen. Andrew Brock who introduced this bill, and thank all those who supported the bill.” 

Susan Hogarth, 
Chair, Libertarian Party of North Carolina 

Jan Martell and Tony Ndege
Co-chairs, North Carolina Green Party 

Al Pisano
Chair, Constitution Party of North Carolina

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  • Tom Karches
    commented 2018-10-08 22:22:45 -0400
    Increased ballot access is good, but the legislature did not do this out of the goodness of their heart. They exempted their seats from the reduced ballot access requirements. Why aren’t these rules good enough for them?
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