Yesterday, officials with the Libertarian Party of Arkansas (LPAR) traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas to submit over 16,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State in order to qualify for ballot access in 2014. Unlike the Republican and Democratic parties in Arkansas, Libertarians must go through this process which costs the state party human and financial resources that could be used for debates, advertising campaigns and other activities to get qualified candidates in front of the public.
The state requires 10,000 signatures of registered voters in Arkansas in order to grant them “New Political Party” status. Once the signatures are turned over, the Secretary of State has 30 days to verify that 10,000 of the 16,000 are valid. Upon verification, the LPAR will be a recognized political party in Arkansas and will therefore be able to run candidates in the 2014 elections. Had the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Gary Johnson garnered at least 3% of the vote totals in the 2012 general election, LPAR would not have had to go through this process.
According to a new poll 60% of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed. That is the highest Gallup has measured in the 10-year history of this question. A new low of 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.
According to Richard Winger of the Ballot Access News, "The ballot access barriers for Republicans and Democrats are nothing compared to the hurdles faced by other candidates. The ballot access laws for new and minor parties to get on the ballot for Congress are so tough, that not since 1920 has any third party been able to place candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives on the ballot in even half of the districts!"
One of the first Libertarian candidates to put their name in the hat is Shawn Hipskind who is running to be Arkansas' next governor and hopes to get the Libertarian Party of Arkansas' nomination at their convention next year.