Unequal Access to the Ballot: South Carolina Denies the Libertarian Party a June Primary


Posted to Ben Swann’s website.

In South Carolina all political parties are equal, but some are just more equal than others.

South Carolina law requires the state to pay for open primaries using taxpayer funds. The state finances both the Democrat and Republican Party’s primaries, but last month, members of the South Carolina Libertarian Party found out that they were not as “equal” as the two major parties.

One of the components of South Carolina’s new election law, the Equal Access to the Ballot Act S.2, requires parties that want to nominate their candidates by convention to put the question on the June ballot, but the state is denying the Libertarian Party access to a primary in which to get the vote they need to nominate by convention.

SC Election Commission on S.2: ”Just ignore it, because we can’t afford it!”

Michael Carmany, chairman of South Carolina Libertarian Party, was shocked to receive a letter from the South Carolina State Election Commission (SCSEC) denying his request for a June primary.

The SCSEC told Carmany:

“The South Carolina State Election Commission does not have the time required to update the voter registration and election management system or the considerable financial resources to make the changes necessary to accommodate your request for 2014.”

The Libertarian Party was trying to comply with the new law, but the state told them to ignore the law, because the state claims they cannot financially afford to comply with the new law. Gov. Nikki Haley signed S.2 into law last June.

The new law, Section 71130, requires political parties who want to nominate their candidates by convention to essentially get permission from opposing political parties by putting a question on the June primary ballot.

So how can the Libertarian Party put this question on the primary ballot if they are denied a primary?

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4 thoughts on “Unequal Access to the Ballot: South Carolina Denies the Libertarian Party a June Primary

  1. paulie

    They just want to be in a position to say they tried to comply with the state’s rules and were thwarted by the state.

  2. Starchild

    If they’re like most LP chapters, the South Carolina LP wants to nominate by convention. By having a rule forbidding them from doing this unless the question is approved on a primary ballot, and then denying them the ability to get on the ballot, the state government is blatantly undermining democracy in the United States by engaging in anti-democratic suppression of alternative political voices.

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