The Libertarian Party of Alabama is pleased to announce our coalition with Alabama for Our America Initiative, Let Bama Vote, Alabama for Ballot Access Law Equality, and other partner organizations to lobby the legislature to ease ballot access barriers for candidates running outside the establishment parties. Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) has confirmed that he intends to again introduce a bill to lower the number of signatures for newly-qualifying parties, from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote to 1.5%. The purpose of our coalition is to raise awareness of Alabama unfair ballot access laws and to encourage our supporters to contact their legislators to demand change.
On December 16, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit issued a decision in a lawsuit that challenged Alabama’s March petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties in presidential election years. The decision stated that due to the plaintiffs (Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties) presenting “no” evidence, there is no reason to disturb the filing deadline. This decision means that the March 2016 petitioning deadline for minor parties will remain in effect.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the court’s decision, that only gives us about 14 months to collect signatures before the deadline for 2016 general election” confirmed Libertarian Party of Alabama Chair, Leigh LaChine. “Our goal is to work furiously through March 8th, 2016 to reach as many voters in the state as possible and let supporters know that the Libertarian Party is here and that there are other choices. Libertarians are coming off of a strong showing of candidates in the 2014 mid-term election and we are focusing on education and motivation.”
“More voters in Alabama should know that the heavy handed laws of this state hold us back from participating in true Democracy and we encourage constituents to contact their current elected officials about supporting changes, like a bill in the 2015 session, that make the ballot easier to access for any third party or independent candidate. Our goal is to engage the voting public about how the ballot access process is currently working here in Alabama as part of our National Presidential Campaign while we raise the petition signatures necessary in order to have Libertarian candidates appear on the ballot.”
In 2014, Alabama was one (1) of only four (4) states that did not have candidates other than the two (2) traditional party candidates on the November ballot for statewide office. Additionally, Alabama was the only state with an entirely unopposed United States Senate race and four (4) unopposed statewide offices.
In 2004, 2008, and 2012, Alabama was part of a small minority of states where the national minor party presidential campaigns, including the Libertarians and Greens, could only appear on the ballot as Independents. Alabama has had no Federal or Statewide independent or minor party candidates on the ballot since 2002. Additionally, with Alabama’s current ballot access laws independent candidates have no provisions to retain ballot access, even if they succeed in being elected to office.
Alabama has a ballot retention threshold of 20% of the vote, the highest of any state. The percentage needed to retain ballot access is twice as high as the next highest state, and 10 times the national average. To appear on the ballot in the following election, any party that fails to meet the ballot retention threshold is required to collect signatures equal to 3% of the vote for Governor in the last general election.
Even with the record low voter turnout in the November 2014 general election, ballot access would require the collection of approximately 36,000 valid signatures of registered voters statewide, around 5,000 valid signatures for a single Congressional race, and approximately 400 valid signatures in any one of the state’s 105 House districts. This signature threshold is the second highest in the country for statewide office and among the highest for any political office. The 2016 Libertarian Party of Alabama ballot access petition can be found at: http://www.LPAlabama.org/#ballot.