Did you know that the last presidential election without an incumbent, in which neither a Bush nor a Clinton ran, was in 1968?* The old parties have treated our presidential politics like the office belongs to one of only two families. To fight against that, the Libertarian Party has run a presidential candidate every election since 1972, but we haven’t always been on the ballot in every state. “Ballot access” is political speak for “getting our candidates on ballots,” and is one of the most critical functions of a political party. Did you know that the old parties conspire together to make it more difficult for anyone other than a Republican or a Democrat to get on the ballot? And in the history of the United States, only the Libertarians, Republicans and Democrats have had 50+ (50 States + D.C) ballot access in consecutive presidential elections.
We believe having more candidates makes for a better election. We think representative democracy requires candidates that represent the electorate. The old parties don’t agree. They only want candidates who represent their party! The Rs and Ds have conspired in statehouses across the country to deliberately make it difficult for a third party to become viable. How hard is it? We mentioned above that in the history of the country only three parties have ever had 50+ ballot access in consecutive presidential elections. After having ballot access in 50+ states in 1992, 1996 and 2000, the Libertarians’ streak ended in 2004 after several states passed ballot access laws specifically designed to keep a third party candidate off the ballot. But we clawed back, and in 2016, Gary Johnson was on 50+ ballots. We want to start a new streak by getting 50+ access in 2020. And we need your help.
Right now, we have ballot access for our 2020 Presidential candidate in 35 states plus D.C. This is the most we’ve ever had at this stage in the election cycle.
In 2020, we’ll be working on ballot access in those remaining 15 states. We currently have teams in the field collecting signatures in our remaining states — but this is where we need your help. In some places, we cannot petition until after the nominating convention in Austin, and then we will have a sprint to get those last signatures. That sprint will involve paying people to work long hours.
If you want as many Americans as possible to have the opportunity to vote for Libertarian candidates in 2020, please contribute to the Ballot Access Fund via this page. Help us keep American elections more than just a two-family affair.
This isn’t just a Libertarian issue — it’s a fair election issue and it’s an American issue. More candidates means better representation. Better representation means better elections and better results.
*The Bush/Clinton history of running when there is no incumbent:
2016 – Hillary Clinton runs
2012 – Obama runs as incumbent
2008 – Hillary Clinton runs
2004 – Bush runs as incumbent
2000 – George Bush Jr. runs
1996 – Clinton runs as incumbent
1992 – Bush runs as incumbent, but also Bush v. Clinton
1988 – Bush Sr. runs
1984 – Reagan runs as incumbent
1980 – Bush Sr. runs
1976 – Ford runs as incumbent
1972 – Nixon runs as incumbent
1968 – open seat, no incumbent, no Bush or Clinton