Posted at Ballot Access News
New Mexico and North Carolina are among the 12 states in which the state income tax form gives taxpayers an opportunity to direct a small amount of money to the political party of the taxpayer’s choice. The North Carolina state income tax form that will be mailed soon includes the Libertarian Party. And the New Mexico state income tax form that will be mailed soon includes the Constitution, Green, Independent and Libertarian Parties.
There is some ambiguity in both states about which parties should be listed, so in each instance, this is good news. North Carolina law says that only parties that are both ballot-qualified and which have registration of 1% of the state total should be listed on the tax forms. However, the North Carolina Libertarian Party is challenging all election laws that discriminate against smaller parties. The registration threshold for listing on the tax form may be unconstitutional, especially since state policy eliminates all a party’s registered members when it fails to poll enough votes. The Libertarians lost their 13,000 registered voters in 2005 because the party didn’t poll enough votes to remain on the ballot in November 2004. This year voters can again register Libertarian, but the party had to start all over again from zero.
In New Mexico, the law on which parties are qualified has been unclear for decades. It is not clear whether the Secretary of State thinks that all of the parties that are being listed on the new tax forms are still ballot-qualified, but it is a good sign that the Secretary of State told the state Taxation and Revenue Department to include all of the minor parties that appeared on this year’s ballot.