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Ballot Access News
Political Parties Gain Qualified Status in Some States, Lose it in Others
November 2nd, 2010
Here is a partial rundown on whether various minor parties in various states either gained, kept, or lost qualified status, as a result of votes cast on November 2, 2010: [These are based on early returns. I will update and follow this story as items change. -KW]
Alabama: the Constitution Party was on the ballot in one U.S. House district but did not poll 20% of the vote, so it did not gain qualified status in that district. It did get over 13%.
Arkansas: the Green Party did not poll as much as 3% for Governor, so has lost the status it gained earlier this year with its petition drive.
California: all the qualified parties retained their qualified status. These include American Independent, Green, Libertarian, and Peace & Freedom.
Colorado: the Constitution Party is now a qualified major party, meaning it will appear on either the top line or the second line on the ballot, and will nominate by primary instead of convention. The Republican Party polled 11% for Governor so maintains its status as a qualified major party.
Connecticut: the Independent Party is now ballot-qualified for both Governor and U.S. Senator. In Connecticut, parties have qualified status on an office-by-office basis, although if they poll 20% for Governor they have qualified status for all offices in the state. The Connecticut for Lieberman Party lost its qualified status for U.S. Senate. The Working Families Party gained it for all the statewide offices, except that it still doesn’t have it for President.
Illinois: the Green Party lost its qualified status. The Libertarian Party tried but did not win qualified status.
Maryland: the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties all polled less than 1% for Governor, so they lost the qualified status that they had gained earlier with a petition drive.
Massachusetts: the Green Party gained qualified status, and the Libertarian Party lost it.
Minnesota: the Green Party did not poll as much as 5% for any statewide race, so did not gain qualified status.
Missouri: both the Constitution and the Libertarian Parties polled over 2% for U.S. Senate, so both parties now have ballot status for 2014 as well as 2012.
Nebraska: the Libertarian Party polled 20.2% for Auditor in a two-person race, and thus it is a qualified party in 2012.
Nevada: the Green Party did not poll as much as 1% for Governor, so did not gain qualified status.
New Hampshire: the Libertarian Party did not poll as much as 4% for either Governor or U.S. Senator, so did not gain qualified status.
New York: the Green Party gained qualified status. It is still too early to tell if the Libertarian Party gained it.
North Dakota: the Libertarian Party lost qualified status because it didn’t run for Secretary of State, the only office that determines party status in a midterm year. Even if it had, it would have needed 5%, and none of the other statewide Libertarians this year polled more than 3.7%.
Ohio: the law requires parties to poll 5% for Governor to remain ballot-qualified in midterm years, and no minor party met that test. However, because the election law regulating how parties get on the ballot is unconstitutional, the state has recognized the Libertarian, Constitution, Green and Socialist Parties ever since 2008. The new Ohio legislature has Republican majorities in both houses, and Ohio now has a Republican Governor, so it will be up to the Republican Party in the 2011 legislative session to write a new law, and that new law may improve the vote test.
Oregon: the Progressive Party maintained qualified status by its vote for Treasurer. The Working Families maintained qualified status by its vote for U.S. Senate, as did the Constitution Party. The Libertarian Party has enough registrations that it didn’t need to worry about the vote test, but it also passed the vote test. The Independent Party has enough voter registrations to remain qualified. The Green Party did not run any statewide candidates, and will go off the ballot in August 2012 if it doesn’t increase its registration to approximately 12,900 voters. Currently it has 8,772. Thanks to Dan Meek and Walt Brown for corrections on Oregon.
Rhode Island: the Moderate Party polled over 5% for Governor, so maintains its qualified status for the first time.
South Dakota: the Constitution Party lost its status because it didn’t run for Governor, because of the restrictive ballot access law for a candidate getting on the party’s own primary ballot. Governor is the only race that counts, and requires 2.5%. The Constitution Party was on the ballot for Secretary of State (because parties are permitted to nominate by convention for that office) and polled 6%.
Texas: the Libertarian Party polled over 2% for Governor, so it not only retains qualified status for 2012, but 2014 as well. The Green Party kept qualified status but only for 2012, not 2014.
Utah: the Libertarian Party needs to poll a number of votes for any candidate that equals 2% of the total vote cast in the state for U.S. House. The tentative election returns show the party nominee for Utah County Attorney has 11,603 votes and needs 11,613. The party nominee for Governor has almost as many. This is too close to call. The Constitution Party easily retained its spot on the ballot by polling over 5% for U.S. Senate.
Washington: both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party lost their status as qualified status, because neither had a statewide nominee on the ballot for U.S. Senate. State law requires parties to poll 5% for any statewide nominee, but in 2010, neither party had any nominees for any partisan office, because the “top-two” law says parties only have nominees for President. This development had been expected.
Wisconsin: the Constitution Party gained qualified status, by polling over 1% for U.S. Senate. The Libertarian Party and the Green Party each went off the ballot. Greens didn’t run any statewide races, and Libertarians only ran a joint ticket of no one for Governor and someone for Lieutenant Governor, which did not poll 1%.
Not all states require parties to poll any particular vote in order to remain ballot-qualified. The list of states above is not a complete list of states in which minor parties continue to be ballot-qualified.
Related story: Green Party Watch has a state-by-state list of Green Party ballot status changes: here.