DOVER — A standoff between the Department of Elections and Libertarian Party of Delaware has come to a head.
In April, the party filed a complaint in Superior Court demanding that the elections commissioner recognize their ballot access. The Department of Justice fired back last week calling their request “a needless waste of precious state resources.”
But, the Libertarian Party of Delaware has no intention of backing down until its legitimacy is recognized, party leadership says.
Since late last year, the party has been struggling to cement the state’s recognition of its ballot access.
Confusion initially arose when a splinter group (Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc.) broke off and formed a rival committee that sought to “hijack” the long-recognized Libertarian Party of Delaware’s ballot access, said the party’s secretary Will McVay.
This paper reported back in February that the state’s election commissioner Elaine Manlove didn’t know which party should get the ballot access belonging to Delaware’s more than 1,600 registered Libertarians.
“I don’t know who gets to claim them at this point,” she said at the time.
Befuddled with the scenario, the Libertarian Party of Delaware claims it’s both been putting candidates on state ballots and sending delegations to the National Libertarian Party’s conventions for many years. Mr. McVay said Ms. Manlove told his party leadership at the Feb. 12 Board of Elections meeting that their party was the one who would maintain ballot access, but has failed to provide it in writing.
“She knows who we are — everyone with the commissioner’s office knows who we are,” said Mr. McVay. “They’re well aware of who the real Libertarian party is. Why they’re not willing to make a ruling on it in writing in a timely fashion is, honestly, beyond me.”
The national Libertarian Party has also urged the commissioner to address the issue promptly. In February, a statement from the executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, Wes Benedict, both recognized the Libertarian Party of Delaware as their only state affiliate and disavowed the claim made by the Libertarian Party of Delaware Inc. The statement reads:
“The Libertarian Party cannot have more than one statewide affiliate in any state, nor can it have more than one county-level affiliate in any county. The LNC has therefore requested that the Commissioner of Elections take prompt action to resolve this matter in accordance with Delaware law.”