As you know, we are working hard to achieve full ballot access for 2018 so that there will be Libertarian candidates on every ballot in America next November.
Right now, the national party is focusing on ballot access work in Ohio and Tennessee.
My friend Ken Moellman recently updated you on the work in Ohio. I’d like to fill you in on Tennessee.
The Tennessee petition drive is a challenging one. We need signatures of 2.5% times the total number of votes cast in the last Governor election (2014) in Tennessee. A total of 1,353,728 vote were cast, which means 33,844 valid signatures of Tennessee voters will be needed to successfully complete the petition.
It’s legitimate to ask, “Is it worth it to complete such an arduous and expensive petition drive?”
The answer to that question is “Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma’s threshold for ballot access was, for many years, one of the worst in the country.
After the year 2000, the Libertarian National Committee never even attempted to get on the ballot in Oklahoma–until 2015. With the help of a very generous donation from Richard Winger, MBA (Mr. Ballot Access), the LNC decided to complete a 24,745 valid signature petition drive in 2015 and 2016.
We successfully accomplished that and then all sorts of good things happened for the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma.
They now have many more candidates getting on the ballot. Previously, their candidates could run but had to be listed as “Independent” on ballots. Now, the numbers of candidates have increased and these candidates are able to proudly run with “Libertarian” next to their names.
Oklahoma will have a Libertarian Party Primary in 2018. It is likely that soon Oklahoma Libertarians will get elected to City Councils and as Mayors in OK.
More and more folks are getting involved. For example, LPOK activist and National Committee member Erin Adams reports that the number of registered Libertarians in her State House District (#33) has increased since 2015 from 14 to 295.
And laws are changing in more Libertarian directions. For example, in 2016, voters passed Oklahoma State Question 780, reclassifying many drug “crimes” from felonies to misdemeanors.
The older parties have started to listen to us and have become at least a bit more libertarian themselves. More libertarian legislation is being passed by the Oklahoma legislature. Alcohol sales are less restrictive than they were, and there is a good chance that legal medical marijuana may come to pass in The Sooner State.
On top of all that, legislation finally passed the Oklahoma legislature lowering the vote test to remain on the ballot from 10% for Governor or President to 2.5% for either office. Gary Johnson got over 5% of the vote in OK in 2016, so the LPOK remained on the ballot, and we’re looking to stay on the ballot forever into the future in Oklahoma.
With Tennessee, we aim to replicate all this cascade of progress. We want many more candidates on the ballot in Tennessee–as “Libertarians”, not “Independents”–and we are working to help make that happen.
There is legislation pending in the Tennessee legislature to reduce ballot access restrictions in The Volunteer State. As we have seen so many times, when we get on the ballot through petition drives, the chance of such legislation passing improves significantly.
Thank you to the many Libertarians who have donated so generously towards ballot access work over the years. We have made tremendous progress at chipping away at the barriers all across the country. We do this through persistence and dedication and it is only possible because of your support.
Please join us in making the investments needed to achieve ballot access in Tennessee in 2018.
All donations made through this link will go straight to critical ballot access work.
Not only are we giving Libertarianism a boost in Tennessee, but Libertarians nationwide gain significant credibility in the eyes of the press and voters when we can say proudly that there are Libertarian candidates on every ballot in America. Let’s make that happen again for 2018!
Libertarian National Committee