North Dakota Libertarian Party Appeals Ballot Access Case to 8th Circuit

On October 1, the North Dakota Libertarian Party filed a notice of appeal to the 8th circuit, in Libertarian Party of North Dakota v Jaeger.  The issue is a state law that does not permit any political party to run a candidate for the legislature, with the party label, unless approximately 10% to 15% of the voters choose to vote in that party’s primary.  North Dakota has open primaries; any voter can choose any party’s primary ballot.  It is wildly unlikely that any new or minor party would ever be able to attract between 10% and 15% of all the primary voters to vote in its primaries.  Traditionally, very few voters in open primary states choose to vote in a minor party primary.  Even the Vermont Progressive Party’s primary this year attracted fewer than 600 voters, yet the Progressive Party regularly elects six or so members of the state legislature.


North Dakota Libertarian Party Appeals Ballot Access Case to 8th Circuit — 12 Comments

  1. One of the few States with a semi-equal ballot access system ???

    More than 1 person per county in ND ???

  2. North Dakota does not register voters.

    Richard: If a party does not get the required 10%-15% of the vote, do its candidate(s) then have to drop their candidacies?

    Can such candidates then run as independents or write-ins?

  3. #1, 2

    Equal for party hack parties ???

    Unequal for independents ???

    Semi-equal overall ???

    How many buffalo roam in ND ???

  4. From what I gather, if the candidate fails this minimum vote test in the primary, their campaign is dead and buried. They cannot run as an Independent, because (i suspect) that deadline is already passed.

    In ND Independent candidates cannot select a party label — except in a few (perhaps only presidency) partisan races.

  5. I do not live in North Dakota and — even if I did — would probably not vote for these candidates, but I fail to see the rational basis for this law.

    Given the fact that a party most first become an ‘organized’ party in the State — a pretty involved petitioning process — before they even participate in te primary, ballot clutter/voter confusion would seem to be properly addressed with the process for organizing a party in the state.

    When a minor party participates in a primary and is unopposed, the worry about clutter or voter confusion seems a bit off.

    Also, I suspect that in a general election, the support for a minor party might be better then in the primary. Richard illustrated this with the Vermont third party and it seems to make sense.

  6. North Dakota law 16.1-13-06 says, “An individual who was a candidate for nomination by any party at any primary election in any year and who was defeated for the nomination may not have that individual’s name printed upon the official ballot at the ensuing general election.”

    And even without that law, the petition for an independent candidate for the legislature is quite difficult. That is why there are only 4 independent candidates on the November ballot this year for legislature. The law requires between 260 and 300 signatures, which may sound easy, but the legislative districts (for each chamber) only have about 6,700 votes cast in a presidential general election, and fewer voters in mid-term general elections.

  7. How many States with primary sore loser sections as in ND ???

    How many UN-EQUAL election laws regarding new and old parties and independents in ALL 50 States and D.C. ???

    One GIANT database of UNEQUAL stuff — to be given to the SCOTUS clerks for their 3 AM reading ???

  8. Yawn…I’m so glad I don’t care about single winner districts. The amont of tears, time and effort that’s wasted on those single winner district power grabbers appears unlimited. In contrast, one hundred-member districts are…well, fun! Everybody wins, and more.

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