Yesterday, December 5, 2016, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire (LPNH) lost their
bid for reasonable ballot access in the State of New Hampshire. A federal three-judge panel in Boston ruled against the LPNH, upholding a state law requiring “third parties,” like the LPNH, to collect petition signatures of a minimum of 3 percent of total votes cast in a prior election in order for candidates to be put on future ballots.
Most Americans do not realize third parties like the Libertarian Party must spend large amounts of money and time in order for their candidates to be seen on ballots across the country. This is money and time most Democrat and Republican candidates do not have to endure due to unequal laws to keep the two older parties in power. Nationally, the Libertarian Party will have ballot access in somewhere between 37 and 39 states and Washington D.C. when it comes to the next presidential election.
The 2014 New Hampshire law restricts the number of candidates found on a general election ballot in the state, creating a virtual duopoly for the Democrats and Republicans. One of the largest issues the LPNH has with the law is that they are not allowed to collect petition signatures to get their candidates on the ballot until January 1st of the election year. In their viewpoint, this is not enough time to collect the required number of signatures.