A U.S. district court in Arizona has upheld that state’s prohibitive petition-signature requirement for the Libertarian Party’s access to primary election ballots. From an article in the Arizona Daily Sun:
A federal judge has rebuffed a bid by the Libertarian Party to kill an Arizona law even its sponsors concede was designed to make it harder for minor party candidates to get on the general election ballot.
Judge David Campbell acknowledged Monday the 2015 law sharply increases the number of signatures that Libertarian candidates need to qualify for ballot status. In some cases, the difference is more than 20 times the old requirement.
The result was that only one Libertarian candidate qualified for the ballot in 2016, and none made it to the general election. By contrast, there were 25 in 2004, 19 in 2008 and 18 in 2012.
But Campbell said the new hurdle is not “unconstitutionally burdensome.” And the judge accepted the arguments that the higher signature requirements ensure that candidates who reach the November ballot have some “threshold of support.”
But Libertarian Party Chairman Michael Kielsky said the judge ignored not just the higher burden but the games that the Republican-controlled legislature played in making 2015 the change for their own political purposes.
“The Republicans set out to get the Libertarians off the ballot and the Republicans succeeded,” Kielsky said. “And now, Judge Campbell has said, ‘That’s OK.’”
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