Libertarian Party fights effort to unenroll Maine voters

Libertarian Party of Maine

The Libertarian Party of Maine would have been a state-qualified political party with ballot access in the upcoming 2020 election … until Maine’s secretary of state decided to arbitrarily unenroll 6,168 of its registered voters soon after the November general election. LP Maine now has until Jan. 2, 2020, to re-enroll 5,000 voters with the Libertarian Party, according to state officials.

LP Maine issued the following press release on Dec. 14:

The Libertarian Party of Maine is taking action to retain the party’s full legal status in Maine and to protect thousands of registered Maine voters from an effort by the Secretary of State to forcibly unenroll them from their party affiliation.

After the midterm election in November, the Secretary of State’s office declared the Libertarian Party of Maine to be not a qualified party and took steps to remove the Libertarian Party listing on voter registration forms. The action also effectively changes the status of more than 6,000 registered Libertarians in Maine to “unenrolled,” meaning not affiliated with a major or “qualified” party.

In response, the Libertarian Party of Maine filed a “Declaration of Intent to Form a Party” with the Secretary of State to begin a campaign to reregister existing Libertarians and add to Libertarian registration numbers to maintain ballot access and qualify for the 2020 primary. Julie Flynn, deputy secretary of state, wrote a December 11 letter to Chris Lyons, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Maine, acknowledging the declaration and clearing the way for the registration effort to begin January 1, 2019. Flynn explained in the letter that the Libertarian Party of Maine needs to register at least 5,000 voters by January 2, 2020 to become a qualified party again, which is ironic since there are already some 6,000 people who have registered as Libertarian in the state.

Previously, the Libertarian Party of Maine had to go to Federal Court to force the Secretary of State to recognize the party in 2016, and the party is currently in the process of taking legal action to keep the state from converting existing registered Libertarians to unenrolled without their permission. At the same time, the party is ramping up registration efforts to begin in 2019.

“It’s just not right to unenroll voters – never mind doing it without telling them,” said Chris Lyons, chairman of the LPME. “It’s especially disturbing in these times when more than 60 percent of Americans say they want an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. There is no benefit or interest by the state to unenroll Mainers exercising their 1st and 14th Amendment Constitutional rights.”


If you would like to help the LPME become a qualified party again, visit LPME.org.

Read coverage from Reason.

Read coverage from Ballot Access News.

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