The national Libertarian Party has taken action to help two states in issues regarding candidates for office. One concerned the exclusion of a candidate in a televised debate in the state of Kentucky, a situation which is familiar to Libertarians and and other third-party and independent candidates across the country. Following is the press release describing the situation.
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 29, 2014
Libertarians sue Kentucky public television for First Amendment violation
A federal constitutional lawsuit, filed today against Kentucky Educational Television in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, stems from its new exclusionary policy regarding public debates, eliminating Libertarian participation. The plaintiffs in the case are Libertarian David Patterson’s campaign for U.S. Senate, the Libertarian Party of Kentucky, and the Libertarian National Committee.
“I firmly believe that there is something wrong here,” Patterson said of the new debate inclusion criteria. “An Open Records Request showed that KET modified the criteria multiple times during the campaign season. The suspicious timing and ever-increasing thresholds seem to be created to ensure I didn’t get to participate. They knew what the ramifications of those changes would be, and chose to act anyway.”
Under the last version of the criteria, only Democrats and Republicans would have ever previously qualified to participate in KET’s debate. The ACLU has called on KET to use the original criteria, under which Grimes and McConnell were invited and under which Patterson qualifies for the debate.
Attorney for the plaintiffs Chris Wiest stated, “Certainly public broadcasters like KET are entitled to impose objective criteria for debate participation, but what they cannot do and what KET internal email indicated they did, is impose such criteria to engage in viewpoint discrimination with the purpose to exclude particular candidates in contravention of the First Amendment.”
Carla Howell, political director of the national Libertarian Party, noted that support for political alternatives is extremely high. “Recent polls show that 53 percent of Americans don’t think Democrats or Republicans represent Americans, and that 58 percent of Americans want an alternative party. Numerous polls also show that Americans want what the Libertarian Party delivers: much less government and more freedom.”
Ken Moellman, state chair of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky, raised ethical concerns. “Beyond any of the legal questions, the ethical ramifications of KET’s actions are clear; they have violated five of the nine planks of their mission statement, as they acted to mute the voices of a growing political movement. Based on polling, at least 250,000 Kentuckians will have their voices squelched by KET’s new criteria. As a taxpayer funded organization, they have a great responsibility to act impartially and to reject pressure — whether implicit or explicit, internal or external — to squelch alternate political viewpoints.”
David Patterson is the Libertarian Party of Kentucky’s 2014 U.S. Senate Candidate. More information about David Patterson’s campaign can be found at david4senate.com .
The national Libertarian Party works to dramatically reduce taxes and government spending, maximize personal freedoms, and stop unnecessary foreign interventions. Its website is LP.org.
The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in Kentucky. Founded in 1973, LPKY promotes individual liberty though free markets and social tolerance. Its website is LPKY.org .
The other situation is concerning a proposition on the fall 2014 ballot in the state of Oregon to pass a method of voting often called “Top-two”. This method has proven to be quite detrimental to third parties in the states which have it as their law. Following is the press release regarding that matter.
For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Libertarian Party submits statement in opposition to Oregon “top two”
Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark submitted the below statement in opposition to Oregon’s “top two” ballot Measure 90 for inclusion in the state’s voter pamphlet.
The pamphlet is being mailed to each voter household in the state in advance of the November election.
Vote No on Measure 90
Measure 90 takes away your choice.
Imagine a store where you can buy Coke, Pepsi, juice, energy drinks, water, and many other beverages. But you go back to the store in November and can only buy Coke or Pepsi. Or, even worse, only Coke and Diet Coke. You don’t drink soda, but that’s all they have because Coke and Pepsi were the most popular beverages earlier in the year.
You wouldn’t put up with a store that didn’t let you buy juice because it wasn’t one of the top two beverages. Why put up with it when choosing political leaders?
How much choice do you have when the only two candidates on the ballot in November are two Democrats, two Republicans, or one of each?
That’s what happens in California and Washington where only two candidates on Election Day is the law. General elections have only two candidates, often from the same party: two Democrats or two Republicans!
Robber barons in the 1800s passed laws to give themselves an economic monopoly. They used laws to corner the market, raise prices and rake in lucrative profits — without competition getting in their way.
Proponents of Measure 90 want a political monopoly. They want to shield their favored candidates — usually incumbents — from competition. They want to pander to their special-interest pals — without political challengers getting in their way.
Proponents claim Measure 90 will increase voter turnout in primary elections. But after California passed this law, the 2014 primary election had the lowest voter turnout in history.
Measure 90 greases the skids for incumbents and multi-millionaires while practically outlawing grassroots candidates who offer voters fresh choices from new political parties, Democratic and Republican challengers, independents, and write-in candidates.
Many measures could substantially improve voter participation, but Measure 90 will make things worse. It hands elections to incumbents, millionaires, and elites while silencing the voice of everyday workers, taxpayers, and citizens.
Vote No on Measure 90.