On May 15, the California Assembly unanimously passed AB 2351, which eases the definition of “political party.” The bill alters the vote test (that a group must poll 2% in each midterm year for at least one statewide office) by moving the test from the general election to the primary. The bill changes the alternate registration test by lowering it from 1% of the last gubernatorial vote (which will probably be approximately 110,000 registrations for 2016), to .33% of the total number of registered voters (which will probably be approximately 65,000 for 2016).
Assuming this bill is signed into law, North Carolina will require support from more voters than any other state, to get a newly-qualifying party on the ballot. The North Carolina legislature only came into session on May 14, so there is time for the North Carolina legislature to take up the pending ballot access bill, although there has been no indication so far this year North Carolina legislative leaders are inclined to do that.
The last time the California legislature eased the requirements for a newly-qualifying party to get on the ballot was 1929. The 1929 bill passed unanimously, and created the 1% (of the last gubernatorial vote) registration method, and lowered the petition for newly-qualifying parties from 3% to 1%. However, in 1937, the California legislature increased the petition alternative from 1% to 10%, mostly in reaction to the Communist Party having qualified in 1934. Thanks to Bob Richard for the news about AB 2351.