On December 9, the Maine Secretary of State said the Libertarian Party is not a qualified party. The law says a new party can qualify by having at least 5,000 registered members by December 1 of the odd year before the election. The Libertarian Party submitted approximately 6,400 registration cards, but election officials only processed 4,489 by December 1. There are enough unprocessed registration cards to put the party over the 5,000 requirement, but the Secretary of State says they don’t count because they haven’t yet been processed.
It is extremely likely that the December 1 deadline is unconstitutionally early. Courts have struck down early petition or registration deadlines for a group to qualify for party status in Alabama (April was too early), Arkansas (January was too early), California (January was too early), Idaho (May was too early), Nebraska (February was too early), Nevada (April was too early), New Mexico (April was too early), Ohio (November of the year before the election was too early), South Dakota (February was too early), and Tennessee (April was too early). All of those were procedures to qualify a party, not procedures for candidates.
In addition, deadlines for procedures for candidates to qualify for the general election ballot were struck down in many other states, including Maine. A US District Court invalidated Maine’s non-presidential independent candidate petition deadline of April in Stoddard v Quinn, in 1984.
The earliest deadline for a new party to qualify that was upheld was the Alabama March deadline, but the reason it was upheld was that Alabama had its primary for all office in March. In the past, when Alabama had a June primary for all office, the April petition deadline was held unconstitutional. The Maine primary is June 14, 2016.