The Libertarian Party is suing to have Romney removed from the ballot in Washington.

Why? Just to be a pain? To make some kind of point? Romney isn’t likely to win Washington anyway.

One thing I’m not clear on is if this would affect candidates for office other than President and VP. The last sentence in the quote above seems to be saying that they’re seeking to remove all Republican candidates, but it could be just a carelessly worded way of saying that it shouldn’t contain the name of the presidential or VP candidates.

I’m skeptical that they can succeed. Do they have a case?

It seems like they think they have a case. It would be funny to have Republicans declared a minor party in any state.

They wouldn’t just be declared a minor party, they’d be removed from the ballot. At least the Presidential and VP candidates would be. I’m not sure about other races.

Exactly. The point is that the entire electoral system is designed to give Democratic & Republican parties a privileged status while making parties & independents jump tru hoops to even get on the ballot. It’d be fucking hilarious if this actually works.

Due to the slightly odd way that our primary system works, the only race where a nomination gets you on the ballot is the presidential race. Everything else is a top two primary; the candidates can express their party preference, but that preference does not necessarily mean that the party endorses them. So the downticket Republicans aren’t on the ballot because they were the party nominees, they’re there because they got either the highest or second highest percentage of the vote. So even if this were to end up mattering for Romney, it wouldn’t matter for them.

I’m amused that they never actually got around to nominating Rossi two years ago. But I do think the Secretary of State is correct in his interpretation.

Insisting that the ballot access law be enforced fairly (i.e. even when one of the duopoly parties slips up and fails to meet the threshold) puts pressure on the duopoly parties to restrain their tendency to impose arbitrary barriers – each barrier would impose a small but nonzero risk of affecting them rather than just the targeted riffraff.

Presumably without Romney on the ballot, the Libertarians will attract a sizable fraction of his supporters and perhaps get to be a major party themselves during the next election. Which would be good for bragging rights if nothing else.

I don’t really mind the minor party/major party division laws. The actual bar for a minor party to get on the ballot is pretty low (apparently they need 1,000 signatures in WA, if they don’t have the organization and support to meet that, they aren’t going to win the election anyways). So the idea that such laws lock out third parties seems pretty suspect.

But obviously if such laws exist, they need to be enforced, without giving the two big parties a free pass. Assuming the analysis in the blog is correct, I’d be pretty pissed if the court found in favour of the GOP.

I’m no fan of the Libertarians or third parties in general but they have a valid point here. The two big parties have rigged state election laws against third parties.

We need to eliminate the grandfather clauses that allow the big parties to enact high barriers that third parties need to climb over to get on the ballot, while they’re secure in the knowledge that they’ll be able to walk around the side of the barrier.

States should enact one universal set of procedures for ballot access and all parties should have to comply with that one set on every ballot. None of these procedures where parties that got five percent of the votes last time can take a shortcut this time.

Well if the Republicans didn’t get on the ballot according to the letter of the law, then including them would be electoral fraud and there is nothing that Republicans hate worse than electoral fraud. I expect they will voluntarily refrain from asking to be put on the ballot.

One thousand signatures is a “high barrier”? In my state, the ballot included the Prohibition Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Ecology Party and the Objectivist Party. I’d say that any bar thats surmountable by the awesome organizational strength and popular support of the modern day Prohibition Party is not “high”.

I don’t know about Washington’s laws but New York’s laws on this subject are almost literally impossible to comply with.

For example, when Ross Perot was running for President in 1992, he needed to collect 45000 signatures. You’re thinking that’s reasonable.

So people went out and collected signatures. And then the election commissioners reviewed the petitions to see if they were valid.

If a person signed two different petitions, both were invalid. If a person signed outside the county they were registered in, their signature was invalid. If the person was registered as John A. Smith and signed a petition as John Smith, their signature was invalid. If a person didn’t date their signature, it was invalid. If the person didn’t write in their address, their signature was invalid. If a person signed in red ink, their signature was invalid.

If any signature on a page was ruled invalid, then the entire page of signatures was thrown out. If the person who collected the signatures didn’t sign as a witness, the entire page was invalid. If the witness didn’t write in his address, the entire page was invalid. If the witness hadn’t registered as a witness, the entire page was invalid. If the witness hadn’t been registered as a witness (which is a different procedure than the witness registering himself) the entire page was invalid. If the page wasn’t numbered properly, the entire page was invalid. If the petition didn’t have the date of the election on it, the entire page was invalid.

You try to get 45000 signatures under those rules.

But not everyone has to work their way through these rules. Any party which received at least 50000 votes in the previous election is granted automatic ballot access.

In 1992, the New York Presidential ballot included the Socialist Workers Party, the Green Party, the Natural Law Party (whose official platform includes training a national corp of “yogic flyers”) and the New Alliance Party. And Ross Perot, who apparently navigated whatever difficulties he had.

I remain skeptical that its a high bar. Third parties often complain about the requirements, but even the most marginal ones seem to be able to meet them. One suspects the complaints are to avoid coming to terms with the actual reason third parties do poorly in the US, no one votes for them.

Also, you apparently only needed 15,000 signatures to get on the NY '92 ballot. cite

My mistake. I misread the law. Non-established parties do require three times the signatures of established parties. But I was mistaken about the amounts: the ratio is 15000:5000 not 45000:15000.

Found these article on NY’s 1992 election laws.

Here are the WA laws. They even make a checklist to help you and your party. There’s also a calendar on the website that shows when the various deadlines are.
A minor party needs to find 12 electors, get 100 people to show up at their convention, and to get 1000 voters to sign a nominating petition. In this state, it’s a fairly low bar. If your party is so minor that you can’t find 1000 people, your nominee can still register as a write-in candidate. As far as the presidential election, minor parties do not have a lot of difficulty getting on the ballot.

(snip mine)

Jeesh, you’d think minor parties were Jim Crow era blacks as far as New York was concerned. That’s literacy test + grandfather clause level stuff, there.

That’s about getting on the GOP primary ballot. And the requirements were the same for Bush and Buchannan in that story. And it doesn’t have anything to do with third parties, or the General Election.

Also about the primary ballot. I don’t understand what either of these links have to do with our discussion.