The Natural Law Party was founded in the United States, and in many other countries, in 1992. But the worldwide leadership of the Transcendental Meditation movement, which had created these parties, advised its followers almost ten years ago to shut them down.
However, the Michigan Natural Law Party continues to run candidates, and continues to be a ballot-qualified party. Michigan requires more signatures for statewide independent candidates, and for new parties, than any other state in the Midwest. But Michigan makes it easy for already-qualified parties to remain on the ballot. Old parties must run at least one statewide candidate who polls a number of votes equal to 1% of the vote cast for the winning candidate for Secretary of State. In 2010, new parties in Michigan needed 38,024 signatures to get on the ballot; statewide independents needed 30,000; but a party could remain on (for 2012) with only 16,083 votes.
Leaders of the Michigan Natural Law Party realize that their qualified status is valuable, so they keep the party alive. In presidential election years, the party awards its presidential nomination to whichever presidential candidate seems to deserve its nomination, and who would otherwise have trouble getting on the ballot. In 2004 the party nominated the Socialist Party presidential candidate, Walt Brown, for President. In 2008 it nominated independent candidate Ralph Nader.
In order to survive in midterm years, the party runs candidates for some of the less important statewide offices. In 2010, as in every previous election year, the party polled enough votes to remain on. However, its 2010 vote was lower than it has been in most years in the past. Its 2010 nominee for State Board of Education, who polled more votes than any other NLP nominee that year, received 1.11% of the vote for that office. The party’s highest statewide vote-getter is generally above 2%. Its best ever was 1998, when it polled 3.12% for University Regent.