On December 29, the Arizona Libertarian Party and the Arizona Green Party filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, complaining about the new version of the voter registration card. The new version, mandated by the 2011 session of the legislature, says the two largest parties in the state should be listed on the voter registration form with a checkbox for each. But if anyone wants to register into any other ballot-qualified party, or an unqualified party, or as an independent, the voter must write in that choice in the “other” box and check that box. UPDATE: here is the complaint. The case is Arizona Libertarian Party v Bennett, 11cv-856. It was assigned to Magistrate Judge Hector Estrada.
Arizona has five parties that are qualified for their own primary: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Americans Elect. No state has ever before printed up voter registration forms that list some of the parties entitled to a primary, but not all of the parties entitled to a primary. Sometimes states list all the parties that are entitled to a primary. Sometimes states don’t list any parties, and let each voter write in the party of choice. It is difficult to imagine any state interest in a system that lists some of the parties entitled to a primary, but not all of them.
Being listed on the form is especially important for the smaller qualified parties, because the main method they use to remain on the ballot is to maintain registration of two-thirds of 1%. Libertarians generally maintain that level, and therefore need to re-petition for ballot status. Greens have never yet had their registration up that high, but obviously if they could reach that level, they would be hugely helped.