Petition requirements in some states rise as a result of high turnout

Posted at Ballot Access News

In approximately half the states, the number of signatures required for a new party, or an independent candidate, depends on how many voters voted in the last election, or on how many people were registered to vote in the last election. In some of the states with the most restrictive requirements, the 2010 or 2012 requirements are substantially higher than they were in 2006 or 2008. This is because, across the nation, turnout and registration were relatively high this season.

California requires a statewide independent candidate to submit a petition of 1% of the number of registered voters at the last election. In 2008 a statewide independent needed 158,372 signatures, but in 2010 such a candidate will need 173,041 signatures. No one has qualified as a statewide independent in California since 1992.

Georgia requires a statewide independent candidate to submit a petition of 1% of the number of registered voters at the last election for which that office was elected. In 2008 an independent presidential candidate needed 42,489 signatures. In 2012 an independent presidential candidate will need 57,582 signatures, unless the law is changed. In 2010, a new party that wishes to run a full slate of candidates for U.S. House will need 287,910 signatures.

Texas requires an independent presidential candidate to collect signatures equal to 1% of the last presidential vote. In 2008 such a candidate needed 74,108 signatures. In 2012 such a candidate will need more than 80,531 signatures (Texas hasn’t finished its official tally yet; the requirement will be somewhat higher than 1% of the unofficial tally).

North Carolina requires a new or previously unqualified party, and a statewide independent, to submit signatures equal to 2% of the last gubernatorial vote. In 2008 the requirement was 69,734. In 2010 and 2012 it will be higher than 85,376.

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