Tuesday, December 24, 2019

AZ Libertarians appeal to SCOTUS to get on ballot

Libertarian Party tells Supreme Court state law keeps its candidates off ballot | News | tucson.com - Mamta Popat, Tucson Star:

December 21, 2019 - "The Arizona Libertarian Party is making a last-ditch effort to quash a state statute that it says was designed to keep its candidates off the ballot. In filings with the U.S. Supreme Court, attorney Oliver Hall from the Center for Competitive Democracy said the law pushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2015 sharply increased — sometimes by a factor of 30 — the number of signatures needed for Libertarian candidates to qualify for the ballot.

"That wasn’t by accident. In fact the record shows that J.D. Mesnard, then a GOP representative from Chandler and now a state senator, told colleagues that Republicans would have been elected to two congressional seats had it not been for what he said were Libertarian candidates in the same race siphoning votes that otherwise would have gone to the GOP contenders. 'I can’t believe we wouldn’t see the benefit of this,' Mesnard said during a floor speech....

"Only one Libertarian qualified for the ballot in 2016 — and none at all in 2018. 'Arizona has relegated the Arizona Libertarian Party to a state of electoral purgatory,' Hall wrote. 'The party is ballot-qualified under Arizona law, but it cannot place its candidates on the ballot'....

"So far, Hall’s arguments have failed to sway federal judges. They concluded the wording of that 2015 law, strictly speaking, treats all parties equally in how they get their candidates qualified for the ballot. But it’s the way the system actually works that is behind the litigation.

"Prior to 2015, candidates for recognized minor parties could get on the ballot simply by submitting petitions with the signatures of one-half of 1% of those registered with the party. In 2018 for the Libertarians, a statewide candidate would have had to collect around 160 names.

"That year, the Republicans who control the Legislature lowered the requirement for all parties to one-quarter of 1%. But they engineered it so the figure was based not on party registration but on all who could sign a candidate’s petition. That added political independents to the base, who actually outnumber Democrats and run a close second to Republicans.

"So in 2018 the minimum signature requirement for a Libertarian running statewide was 3,153, about 10% of all those actually registered as Libertarians. Meanwhile the numbers for Republican and Democrat nominations remained close to what [they] always had been: 6,223 signatures for GOP candidates and 5,801 for Democrats, both a small fraction of each party’s voter registration."

Read more: https://tucson.com/news/arizona_news/libertarian-party-tells-supreme-court-state-law-keeps-its-candidates/article_d6f9288e-2251-5639-9c4a-9af705e75e0c.html
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