On March 4, Hawaii filed this response brief in Nader v Nago, 10-728. This is the case in which Ralph Nader challenges the number of signatures needed for an independent presidential candidate, on the basis that the law is irrational, because Hawaii requires approximately six times as many signatures for an independent presidential candidate as for an entire new party. In Hawaii, when a new party qualifies by petition, it nominates by primary and is free to run for every partisan office in the state. If the purpose of ballot access restrictions is to keep the ballot uncrowded, it seems irrational to require a single independent presidential candidate (who only appears on the November ballot) to obtain so many more signatures than a new party, which in theory could put dozens of nominees on both the primary ballot and the general election ballot.
The state’s brief nevertheless insists that the new party procedure is just as difficult as the independent presidential petition, because the presidential candidate of a newly-qualifying party must worry about getting the presidential nomination of that party. Also, the petition to create a new party is due much earlier in the year than the independent presidential candidate petition.
An objective means of knowing which measure is more difficult is to examine how many successful party petitions there have been in the last ten years, versus how many independent presidential candidate petitions there have been. There have been seven successful new party petitions in the last ten years, but zero independent presidential candidate petitions. The seven successful party petitions were submitted by the Libertarian Party in 2002, the Green Party in 2008 and 2010, the Free Energy Party in 2002 and 2010, the Constitution Party in 2008, and the Independent Party in 2008.
If you click on the link to read Hawaii’s brief, the very first page, the cover page, is difficult to read, but the following pages are not difficult to read.