Libertarians lose, and so does N.C.

By: - August 23, 2005 5:08 am

Henderson Daily Dispatch

The State Board of Elections on Monday did just as we expected it to – and the opposite of what we’d hoped – by revoking the Libertarian Party’s status as an official political party in North Carolina.

Libertarian candidates will no longer be allowed to appear on ballots in partisan elections because the party’s candidates failed to garner 10 percent of the votes in the last presidential and gubernatorial elections, and because the party could only get about 25,000 petition signatures to remain alive rather than the 70,000 that were needed.

North Carolina has some of the most stringent ballot access laws in the country, the Libertarians note. And this newspaper continues to believe that closing off the ballot to all but Democrats and Republicans is detrimental to the electoral process.

Voter participation has dwindled to embarrassing levels in this country and for the most part North Carolina is no exception. If allowing the Libertarian Party to be on the ballot creates just a little bit more interest in the political process, then the inclusion of that party – or any other of party of substance – has been worth it.

Our hopes now rest with the General Assembly, where a bill has been advanced by Rep. Paul Miller, D-Durham, that would ease this state’s ballot access laws. The new rules would only require a party to gain 2 percent of the votes in presidential and gubernatorial elections and petition signatures if needed to a small fraction of the 70,000 now required.

That bill is scheduled to be heard today in the House Finance Committee. We hope it gains support, momentum and passage.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066