N.C. Appeals Panel Hears Libertarians

For Immediate Release Tuesday, April 21, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. — A State Court of Appeals panel on Monday heard oral arguments in the Libertarian Party of North Carolina’s legal challenge to the state’s election laws Monday. The panel included Chief Judge John C. Martin and Judges Sanford L. Steelman and Ann Maria Calabria.

Ken Soo, representing the Libertarian Party, argued that the state’s ballot access laws violate guarantees of free association and free speech in the state constitution, guarantees which are greater than what the U.S. Constitution offers.

Alexander Peters, a deputy attorney general, argued that the state’s laws were reasonable and asserted that the Appeals Court must uphold the ruling of the Superior Court on procedural grounds.

Peters said that a larger ballot presented greater potential for complications and allowing third parties on the ballot would proliferate and complicate the administration of elections.

Judge Steelman asked if this were sufficient grounds for making it harder for third parties to get on the ballot, and added “We could solve all of it just having one party.”

Peters replied that “probably at least two parties” would always get on the ballot.