WMTW-TV: Libertarians fighting to be official party in Maine

The Maine Libertarian Party filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, November 5, alleging registered voter minimum is unconstitutional.

From WMTW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Portland, Maine, on November 7:

The Libertarian Party is suing the state of Maine in an attempt to get reinstated as an official party.

In 2018, the state stopped recognizing the Libertarian Party as an official political party. At the time, there were about 6,000 registered Libertarian voters.

State law requires a party to have at least 5,000 registered voters, and 10,000 registered voters who actually cast ballots on Election Day. The law, LD1571, was passed in 2016.

By December of 2018, the party had already filed paperwork to re-form in Maine. To do so, it needed to collect at least 5,000 signatures by January of 2020.

On Monday, a federal lawsuit was filed against Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, on behalf of Maine voters and registered Libertarians, alleging the state’s petition requirements for party nominees is unfair, and is a hardship for parties with smaller numbers of supporters to get candidates on the ballot.

“You can’t simply throw out one’s choice to belong to a political party,” Libertarian Party of Maine Chair Jim Baines said in a statement. “Republicans and Democrats wrote unconstitutional laws that suppress competition, and prevent thousands of independent thinkers in Maine from considering a viable political option, which many didn’t know existed. I didn’t realize I was a Libertarian until seven years ago.”

The party also alleges most Libertarian voters don’t realize they were unenrolled, because the Secretary of State did not individually notify affected voters.

The secretary of state’s office has not responded to the lawsuit.

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