In many states, state legislators decide the year before the legislative session opens which bills they will introduce. Some states have strict deadlines, that do not permit legislators to introduce bills after the first few weeks of the legislative session. Therefore, if your state’s ballot access laws, or other election laws, need improvement, now and the remainder of 2014 is a good time to talk to legislators, and to individuals who are not now legislators but who have a good chance of being elected this year.
Legislatures are not in session in the vast majority of states, and many legislators are in their home districts campaigning for re-election, or at least making themselves available to talk to constituents.
Minor party activists in many states would do the most good by pushing for more lenient rules on how parties remain on the ballot. During its lifetime, the Libertarian Party and its members and activists have persuaded the state legislatures of twenty states to ease that state’s definition of “political party.” As a result, generally speaking, the Libertarian Party is always safely on the ballot in virtually half the states. This ongoing advantage is why the Libertarian Party easily appears on the ballot of more states than any other minor party, year after year. This year it is likely that Libertarian candidates for statewide office will be on the ballot in 40 states, whereas the Greens, in second place, are likely to enjoy that status in only 16 states.
The median vote test for a party to remain ballot-qualified in the 50 states is 2%. Yet some states have requirements far in excess of that, such as Alabama, which requires a vote of 20%; Pennsylvania, which requires registration membership of 15% of the state totai; Virginia, which requires 10%; New Jersey, which requires 10% of the entire statewide vote for members of the lower house of the legislature; and Oklahoma, which requires 10% for Governor. It would be very desirable for activists in those five states to win improvements in those states. Pennsylvania and Alabama activists have already tried hard in those two states without luck so far, but ballot access lawsuits are pending in those two states, and if they win, that will ease the lobbying job.