On July 3, a federal judge in U.S. district court enjoined Arkansas from enforcing the state’s new petition requirement for newly-qualifying parties, putting a halt to the secretary of state’s plans of carrying out tougher laws to regain ballot access.
In February, the Arkansas legislature had raised the signature requirement from 10,000 registered voters to 3 percent of the last vote for governor. This would have required collecting 26,746 signatures in order to get on the 2020 ballot. The legislature had also moved up the filing deadline from early January 2020 to late September 2019. The 90-day window in which signatures need to be collected was not affected by the new legislation.
To retain ballot access in Arkansas, a political party’s candidate for governor or president must receive at least 3 percent of the vote. In 2018, Mark West, the gubernatorial candidate for the Libertarian Party of Arkansas, received 2.9 percent of the vote, the closest the party has come to retaining ballot access.
LP Arkansas submitted 18,667 signatures in late June. The secretary of state has not yet started the validation process, awaiting instructions from the court.