Richard Winger: Now is the Time to Ask State Legislators to Introduce Helpful Election Law Bills

Richard Winger writes in IPR comments on a previous post:

Some comments in this thread have concerned running candidates in 2014 that may result in our being on the ballot automatically in 2016. But I haven’t noticed any comment above about the more fruitful idea of asking state legislators to introduce bills in the 2013 sessions of state legislatures, lowering the vote test. Often when bills like that, the act of passing the bill puts us on the ballot automatically the moment the new law goes into effect. Right now, and the next few weeks and months, is the prime time for anyone to ask a state legislator to introduce bills. In the 24 month cycle, we are at the moment to do this right now.

States in which the LP is on the ballot right now because we got a good bill passed in the past include Arizona, Colorado, Georgia (but we only have status for the statewide offices), Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming. We are crazy if we don’t do more of this work.

And at Ballot Access News:

Now is the time for anyone who is unhappy with his or her state’s election laws to ask a state legislator, or a legislator-elect, to introduce bills in the 2013 sessions of that state’s legislature.

Deadline vary tremendously, but some states have very early deadlines for legislators to introduce bills. Indiana requires bills in the 2013 session to have been introduced by late 2012.

As far as is known, activists in the following states are already working on getting ballot access bills introduced: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Georgia Libertarians ought to be seeking a change in the law, to enable the party to run candidates for U.S. House, legislature, and county partisan office. The Georgia law, making it virtually impossible for the Libertarian Party to run for these offices, is absurd, when one considers that statewide Libertarian nominees in partisan elections carried counties in both 2008 and 2012, and polled over one-third of the vote in one statewide partisan race last week.

28 thoughts on “Richard Winger: Now is the Time to Ask State Legislators to Introduce Helpful Election Law Bills

  1. Darryl W. Perry

    I’ve spoken to several NH State Reps about introducing ballot access reform. Two freshman seemed somewhat interested, though I’m not sure if either Rep will introduce anything. So far, I haven’t had any firm commitment from anyone stating their willingness to introduce legislation.

    Most of the reps will give the old cliche “just run as a Republican or Democrat”.
    What happened to freedom of association?

  2. Let the T-Rex of Talk Radio Entertain U2day

    Yes it’s best to try to change the laws. It is also a smart thing to NOT challenge any Rep or Sen. that votes in your favor. Think about it. Why should they vote to allow you on the Ballot and have to worry about you challenging them in a year or two ? Making friends with the enemy is sometimes necessary to meet a long term goal.


    As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

    We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

    Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

    In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.

    These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

  3. Steve M

    As if Richard doesn’t do enough….

    How about a list of friendly state representatives? How about a list of unfriendly state representatives?

    Who should we be working with… who should we be seeking to kick out?

    How can I help?

  4. Ancient Aryan Astronaut

    My electoral reform: if you are not White you don’t vote and as for running….sure, as long as its when you get chase by a truck with some KKK boys out having fun with shotguns and noose! Sieg Heil!

  5. johnO

    Imagine that guy running in Jesse Jackson Jr’s seat? He would be umwelcome in that district for sure!


    How about approaching Democrats to ease ballot access laws? If the GOP claims the LP cost them five or six federal elections, then maybe the Dems would be happy to make it even easier for LPers to run?

  7. Richard Winger

    #13 and #14, those type of arguments should not be raised when talking to state legislators. State legislators are human beings just like the rest of us, and an appeal to common shared values works best. We all believe in freedom and equality in the abstract. The freedom for a voter to vote as he or she chooses is an ideal that appeals to the best in human nature. Talk about that, and about the U.S. consensus that free competition is good.

  8. GovMart

    I completely agree. That and an envelope stuffed with cash, or pictures of the legislature in a compromising position, goes a long way 😀

  9. paulie Post author

    Imagine that guy running in Jesse Jackson Jr’s seat?

    I can easily imagine @6 running in that district.

    Hiding, not so much.

  10. Richard Winger

    People who read this blog and who live in Oklahoma may already know this…the deadline for introducing bills is Friday this week (December 14) and so far no member of the House will introduce a bill until a Republican State Senator is found to co-sponsor it. Contact Richard Prawdzienski if you can help. He is at 405-844-7577, or

  11. Joshua Katz

    Today two bills were introduced in Connecticut. Connecticut uses a 1% office by office, election by election, vote test for retention and 1% petitioning requirement. The first would establish that meeting the vote test for any statewide office carries access for all statewide offices and for all municipal offices within the district of that statewide office.

    CT considers a party statewide registration eligible if it has ballot access in a statewide race. The second bill would place all statewide registration eligible parties on the registration form as check-boxes. Currently the check-boxes are “Republican” “Democrat” and “Other” requiring people to write-in any other qualified party.

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