Nebraska No Longer Recognizes Third Parties

The Libertarian Party, Green Party, and Nebraska Party (Nebraska affiliate of the Constitution Party) are no longer recognized in Nebraska, after their candidates for US Senate failed to gain more than five percent of the vote. Members of these parties will be mailed, saying their registration is changed to nonpartisan.

Members of these third parties are not happy. Here’s an excerpt:

Lesser-known political parties in Nebraska may have felt slighted in the past, but at least they weren’t totally ignored.

That may not be the case in the 2010 or 2012 elections.

Libertarians, Greens and the Nebraska Party are no longer officially recognized in Nebraska. The parties lost their legal status after none of their candidates for president or U.S. Senate garnered 5 percent of the vote, as required by state law.

Voters registered with one of the three parties will be sent notices that their party affiliation has been changed to nonpartisan. The parties’ future candidates for office will not appear on statewide ballots, unless each party mounts a petition drive and collects about 5,500 signatures across the state.

The parties and their members are not happy.

“The law fixes it so third parties can’t exist,” said Paul Rosberg, founder of the Nebraska Party.

Rosberg and his wife, Kelly Renee Rosberg, have run for numerous statewide offices since they founded their party in 2001. Paul Rosberg said he believes state law on political parties is unconstitutional, and he is considering his legal options.

You can read the full article here. Source: Omaha World-Herald.

12 thoughts on “Nebraska No Longer Recognizes Third Parties

  1. Stewart Flood

    Nope. They do this a lot of states.

    North Carolina is a good example of a state where the LP just managed to regain our status after having lost it a few years ago for not meeting the state’s minimum vote requirement.

    The state party did a fantastic job of organizing the petition drive and placing excellent candidates on the ballot who were able to obtain enough votes to re-qualify the party.

    Of course the state will require the party to continue to get enough votes in future cycles to maintain their status. (This stinks.)

    The system is openly biased against any attempt to run as anything other than an R or D.

  2. Timothy Yung

    Great this is just a cycle the parties cannot get on the ballot because not enough people vote for them. Not enough people vote for them because they are not on the ballot. What a great two party dictatorship!

  3. Nate

    “Great this is just a cycle the parties cannot get on the ballot because not enough people vote for them. Not enough people vote for them because they are not on the ballot. What a great two party dictatorship!”

    I’m sorry, no. Just no. You can bitch and moan about how unfair ballot access is in a lot of different ways and be completely correct, but they *were* on the ballot, and didn’t receive enough votes.

  4. paulie

    I’m not surprised.

    I’ve worked on putting alternative parties on the ballot in Alabama, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, DC, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arkansas, Utah, Arizona, California, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Nebraska; some multiple times in different years.

    Nebraska was by far the hardest place to get signatures.

    I also worked on initiatives in Nebraska as well as a dozen other states, and several more for MPP email contacts, voter registrations, etc.

    For both alternative parties and initiatives, Nebraska was by far the hardest place to get signatures.

    I’ve also gotten the same opinion from other petitioners I know who have also worked in additional states where I haven’t – between us, almost every state in the country.

    Every one of them considers Nebraska to be the hardest place to get anything signed.

  5. citizen1

    In CT they do not change your registration they only do not allow you to register new voters.

  6. Andy

    “Nebraska was by far the hardest place to get signatures.

    I also worked on initiatives in Nebraska as well as a dozen other states, and several more for MPP email contacts, voter registrations, etc.

    For both alternative parties and initiatives, Nebraska was by far the hardest place to get signatures.”

    Nebraska fucking sucks. I’ve gathered petition signatures and voter registrations in 24 states plus DC and Nebraska was the worst. Also, Nebraska is a very strong contender for crappiest state in the country in general (it just may take that title) in my opinion.

  7. Richard Winger

    The Nebraska Elections Division had said if any of the 3 parties started trying to get back on the ballot, they would let those parties retain their registered members. But none of them has done anything to re-petition for 2010 yet.

    The Nebraska Elections Division tried to amend the law a few years ago, to say if a party meets the vote test, it gets the next two elections. Since the vote test is fairly easy to meet in mid-term years (all partisan races count, and district offices can even be added together, but the sum must equal 5% of the vote cast in the state), this would have been a great deal. But, sad to say, the Greens testified against it, so it lost. They testified against it because it was eliminating the ability of a party to be ballot-qualified in just one US House district, or just one county. But that was a small price to pay, in exchange for getting a free pass in presidential election years.

  8. Bill Lussenheide

    Question for Andy and Paulie:

    You are both agreed that Nebraska is the toughest state to get signatures.

    Im curious to know which state is the EASIEST to get signatures, and what theories you have as to why this is, and why Nebraska is so tough.

    Thanks in adavance.

  9. paulie

    Colorado and New Mexico are two states where I have had good response, and people seem to be pretty open to signing petitions. Colorado has a lot of busy stores which allow petitioners within the Denver area, and the signature requirements are not very high compared to the population relative to other initiative states. The forms are also pretty decent.

    People were also real friendly in Washington State and in Utah.

    El Paso, Texas was probably the most difficult place to get work locations, and also has a lot of people who don’t speak English.

    Most petitioners don’t like DC, since there are lots of non-DC residents everywhere you go and the petitioning is during the heat of the summer. But for some reason I have clicked with it and been the top producer on several DC campaigns.

    Oklahoma is a real tough state in terms of weather, high signature requirements, and – at least on issue petitions – requiring the names of all the signers to be printed again on the back.

    Massachusetts has easy access to stores, but the forms make things way more difficult than they need to be.

    There are a lot of factors involved – weather, form design, access to locations, etc.

    Nebraska has a lot of weather extremes – very cold winters, hot summers, and lots of wind all year long. They have high signature requirements compared to the population on issue petitions, which means that people tend to be sick of petitioners.

    They also have organized opposition to gambling issues, which come up again and again every election. The year we were there, there was also very vicious organized opposition byy the government workers unions to a state spending growth limit petition. There were also a whole bunch of different gambling issues, so if people did stop and sign, they were asked to fill out a lot of different papers at the same time.

    Then there were people asking them not to sign, and because of the high signature requirements, people got real sick of being asked repeatedly everywhere they went.

    Then, we left and came back several months later to circulate for the Libertarians and thought the controversy would have died down. Instead, what had happened was the entire time we were gone, negative TV ads and newspaper stories focused on “paid out of state petitioners”
    and people could not distinguish the ballot access petitions from the issue petitions.

    However, this was not a unique situation that year. I’ve talked to people who worked Nebraska years earlier, and they had problems then too. It just seems to have a long history of ugly fights over petitions.

  10. Erik Geib

    I hate that the mainstream accepts this so easily. Given that the African-American population is less than 5% in Nebraska, would they be classified as simply ‘non-white’? Of course not.

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