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LP on ballot in 30 states after 2012 election, including first time in DC

Part of a series highlighting significant stories from the 2012 election


Bruce Majors,
2012 candidate for
D.C. delegate to U.S. House

Following the 2012 election, the Libertarian Party has ballot access in 30 states and, for the first time ever, the District of Columbia.

The LP:

  • Retained party status in Alaska, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wyoming.
  • Gained party status in D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • Lost ballot access in Arkansas, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.
  • Can now run a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016 and the U.S. House 2nd District in Connecticut in 2014 without petitioning.
  • Can continue to run statewide candidates in Georgia.

In some states, ballot access was not affected by 2012 election results, usually because either the LP achieved four-year ballot access in 2010 or because there are sufficient registered Libertarians to meet the state’s requirement.

Bruce Majors, the Libertarian Party candidate for delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, won ballot access for the LP in Washington, D.C., for the first time in the party’s history. Majors won 16,524 votes, more than double the 7,500 needed for ballot access. He finished in second place behind the incumbent Democrat, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and well ahead of the Statehood Green Party candidate.

For the second time ever, the West Virginia LP has won ballot access in the state, thanks to the campaign of David Moran for governor. He pulled in 8,760 votes, or 1.3 percent, surpassing the 1 percent required for ballot status.

In ballot access victories for the LP resulting from U.S. Senate campaigns, Joseph Kexel won 61,904 votes (2.1 percent), gaining ballot access in Wisconsin; Scotty Bowman won 84,198 votes (1.8 percent), retaining ballot access in Michigan; and Paul Passarelli won 25,059 votes (1.7 percent), allowing the LP to run a U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut in 2016, as well as a U.S. House 2nd District candidate in 2014, without petitioning.

In his race for Alaska’s only U.S. House district, Jim McDermott received 11,051 votes, or 5 percent, in a 4-way race, which retained ballot access for the state.

Richard Brubaker of Wyoming’s only U.S. House district won 8,286 votes, or 3.4 percent, in a 5-way race, easily exceeding the 2 percent needed to retain ballot access in the state.

Gov. Gary Johnson won 3.5 percent of the vote in his home state of New Mexico, well over the 0.5 percent required to retain ballot access there for two more years. Johnson’s votes in Nevada also met the threshold necessary to retain LP ballot access in that state.

David Staples, candidate for the Georgia Public Service Commission 5th District, won 1,082,481 votes, blowing by the 58,049 votes (1 percent of registered voters) needed to enable Libertarian statewide candidates to run for office without petitioning for the next two years.

In a few states, such as Minnesota, New Jersey, and Tennessee, where ballot access is difficult to achieve, getting candidates on the ballot is relatively easy. In Massachusetts, achieving ballot access actually makes getting candidates on the ballot more difficult, although having party status provides other benefits, such as listing the Libertarian Party as a choice on voter registration forms.

Vermont is among the 30 states where the LP is recognized as a party because it met the requirement to organize in 10 towns in late 2011. The LP must repeat this process in 2013 to maintain party status.