On May 7, a U.S. District Court in Arizona heard Arizona Green Party v Bennett, 2:14cv-375. The lawsuit challenges the February petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties to submit signatures. According to this article, the judge looked askance at the party’s suggestion that if the state doesn’t have enough time to prepare the party’s late-August primary, the party might nominate by convention.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court took this action in 1968, when the American Independent Party submitted its signatures in July, five months after Ohio’s February deadline for newly-qualifying parties. At the time, Ohio required all newly-qualifying parties to participate in the May primary, but the U.S. Supreme Court put the party on the November 1968 ballot even though he had missed the primary.
Lower courts have also invalidated early petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties, in states in which the law said new parties must nominate by primary, in Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, and Tennessee. The Arkansas case was won by the Reform Party in 1996, and the judge put the party on the ballot that year even though it had not participated in a primary. The Idaho case was won by the Populist Party in 1984, and the Ninth Circuit put the party on the ballot that year even though it had missed the primary. The Nebraska case was won by the Libertarian Party in 1976 and the U.S. District Court permitted the party’s presidential candidate to appear on the November ballot with the party label, even though the party had not petitioned (instead, the party’s presidential candidate had petitioned as an independent). The Nevada case was won by the Libertarian Party in 1986, and the judge put it on the November ballot even though it missed its primary.
Also, in 1984, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party won a lawsuit against the 3-month petitioning period. By the time the case was won, it was too late for the party to participate in the primary, so the judge let the party nominate by convention and its nominees were put on the November ballot. Also, in 2008, the Libertarian Party was put on the ballot in Ohio by a U.S. District Court, even though it had missed the primary.