Loose Lips

Libertarian Party Sues Board of Elections Over Petition Circulators

The Libertarian Party is suing the Board of Elections over a provision in city law that bans non-District residents from circulating nominating petitions.

That ban, the party says, is hindering Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and D.C. delegate candidate Bruce Majors—both of whom are very, very likely to lose their elections if they do qualify for the ballot—from getting on the ballot for November. According to the lawsuit that was filed today, Johnson needs 4,667 signatures to get on the ballot, and Majors needs at least 3,000. Neither candidate has been able to meet that threshold, the lawsuit says. The Libertarians want to use "reliable professional circulators" to gather the signatures as  "the pool of potential petition circulators available to the Libertarians is sharply reduced," the party says in court records.

The suit also says that their professional out-of-state petition gatherers would be "the most effective at disseminating the Libertarians’ political views."

By last count, the highest possible number of  registered Libertarians in the District was 1,440.

The party has filed similar lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of prohibitions on who can be petition circulators in other states.

A spokesman for the Board of Elections says he's unaware of the lawsuit.

  • http://twitter.com/kcivey KCIvey

    To be clear, both the signature gatherers and the signers can be registered with any party, or none, they just have to be registered to vote in DC, correct?

  • Michael Morrison

    Tens of thousands of United States military personnel are in harm's way, and billions of dollars are being spent, all in the alleged effort to "bring democracy" to Afghanistan.
    Yet we can't get democracy here in our own country.
    The two old parties might appear to be opponents, but in fact they work together closely to prevent any other parties from being on the ballots.

  • http://Www.BruceMajorsDC.com Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Congress

    I am actually turning in over 3000 signatures tomorrow, and will turn in more before August 8, the deadline.

    However it does remain the case that the ballot access laws written by Democrats and Republicans to require new parties to collect at least ten times as many signatures to get n the ballot as an incumbent needs to enter a primary, routinely use up over half of most new parties' budgets, so they have nothing left for advertising.

    Many Libertarians interning in DC or living in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs would circulate DC petitions if they were allowed to do so.

  • http://Www.BruceMajorsDC.com Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Congress

    Oh and Alan, we have a new plan to liberate DC voters from taxation without representation. We don't have to be elected. We just wait a few more weeks for every last Democrat and Republican to be indicted. Feel free to call for more info.

  • http://www.Libertarian-International.org Libertarian International Organization

    Thanks for the article. These petty regulations are a problem being addressed not just in DC but many countries. Libertarians in the US win these challenges so the main purpose of the statute seems to be to wear down independent voters.

    For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://​www.Libertarian-Internation​al.org ....

  • Kurt

    DC already has people from elsewhere (i.e. Congress) trying to run our government. We don't need more out of DC people running our elections. If you don't have any DC supporters to circulate your petitions, then you don't have a sufficient base of support to go on the ballot.

  • http://Www.brucemajorsdc.com Bruce Majors

    A nice sentiment Kurt, but in fact the way campaign finance laws and ballot access laws work is that they are used to keep independents from becoming active and new parties from organizing or angel donors from funding their campaigns.

    As we see in DC this year the incumbents in the major parties ignore the laws they pass, an only use them to prevent competition against them. The major parties have no problem taking illegal campaign donations from bundlers to win elections, and the political class and the so called non-corrupt politicians in their parties ignore their chicanery. But if I accepted bundled donations, not being politically connected, I'd end up in whatever has replaced Lorton, now that it has been turned into art studios.

    A moot point though. I collected 3000 signatures before I even heard about this lawsuit.

  • Ward One Resident

    Suderman, you might want to update/enhance your story with this piece of news coming out of Virginia today where a federal judge ruled Virginia's law for not allowing out-of-state circulators as unconstitutional. Will certainly have ramifications for this lawsuit if it proceeds:

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  • Hank

    Is Gary Johnson the real deal, or is he just like the rest of the candidates? http://ow.ly/cwZYD