Washington Secretary of State Won’t Recognize Libertarian Party


From Ballot Access News on November 30:

“On November 30, the Washington Secretary of State said the Libertarian Party is not a ballot-qualified party, even though 5% for president gains that status and even though her web page says Gary Johnson got 5.01%. Even though the Washington Secretary of State has not reported any presidential write-ins since 1992, or even acknowledged the existence of any presidential write-ins since 1992, now she says the write-ins (the number of which she has not revealed) will pull Johnson’s percentage below 5%.

“It is likely the Libertarian Party will sue, because the presidential write-ins are not valid, because they are not in support of any particular slate of candidates for presidential elector. The party may also ask the legislature to lower the vote test. The median vote test of the 50 states is 2%.”

Earlier in the day, Richard Winger of Ballot Access News had reported that the Washington LP was a recognized party:

“The Washington Secretary of State has completed the official canvass and has determined that Gary Johnson got 5.01% of the total vote. This means the Libertarian Party is ballot-qualified for the next four years. See this story.

“Here is a link to the official election returns for president in Washington.

“The Libertarian Party was also a ballot-qualified party in Washington for the period November 2000 through November 2004. It earned that by polling over 5% for Lieutenant Governor and Auditor in the 2000 election. Because Washington started using a top-two system in 2008, qualified status became much more difficult starting that year. Parties no longer have nominees in Washington for anything except president, so the vote test at that point became much more difficult.

“The only other party that has had qualified status in Washington state in the last 80 years was the Reform Party, which had it November 1996 through November 1998. The last third party before that to have qualified party status was the Farmer-Labor Party during the 1920’s, which elected several legislators. The Washington state vote test was 10%, not 5%, before 1977.”

“The only states with no ballot-qualified parties, other than the Republican and Democratic Parties, are Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. However, in Georgia, the only ballot-qualified third party, the Libertarian Party, is only on the ballot for statewide office, not district or county office.”

If the party is recognized as ballot qualified, the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nominee will not have to petition to get on the ballot.