Maryland LP retains ballot access for first time

Shawn Quinn and Lorenzo Gaztanaga
Shawn Quinn and Lorenzo Gaztanaga

For the first time in its history, the Maryland Libertarian Party met the vote test to retain ballot access.

It was also the first time in 44 years that any challenge party in the state was able to retain ballot access.

Gubernatorial candidate Shawn Quinn and candidate for lieutenant governor Lorenzo Gaztanaga received 1.5 percent of the vote last Tuesday, and the state party will appear on the ballot in 2016.

In Maryland, the top-of-the-ticket candidate must get 1 percent, or the party must have at least 1 percent of the registered voters on the last day of the year to continue as a recognized party. In 2016, the LP presidential candidate must get at least 1 percent.

Because of restrictive ballot access laws, no alternative party candidate had run for statewide office between 1970 and 2002, when Spear Lancaster ran for governor as a Libertarian. In addition to having to collect 10,000 signatures, non-Democrat/Republican candidates also had to petition individually to get on the ballot, which during Lancaster’s campaign required more than 34,000 signatures. The individual candidate petition was struck down the next year by the highest court in the state, and now candidates can get on the ballot as long as the party has ballot access.