The Maryland Green Party and the Maryland Libertarian Party have agreed to work for a bill to re-define “political party”, so that a group that has at least 10,000 registered members will meet the state’s definition of a qualified minor party. Maryland law already recognizes a group as a political party if it has registration of 1% of the state total, which is approximately 40,000 members.
Maryland law also recognizes a group if it submits a petition of 10,000 voters. The idea behind the bill is that if 10,000 voters, signing a petition, demonstrate enough support for a party to be recognized, there is no logic to not recognizing a group if it has 10,000 registered members. The coalition to support this bill invites other groups to join the coalition behind the bill idea. The coalition calls itself the 10K Coalition, and has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/10KCoalition. Thanks to Brian Bittner for this news. Currently, the Libertarian Party has 11,256 registrants and the Green Party has 8,716 registrants. The two parties are automatically on the ballot in any event for 2014, because they both submitted 10,000 valid signatures earlier this year and that gives them each four years of qualified status.
If the bill passes, the alternate means for a party to be recognized would still exist: (1) poll 1% for the office at the top of the ticket at the last election; (2) a petition of 10,000 signatures. The bill would save money for election administrators, because they would not be required to check petition validity as often as they have in the past.