Libertarian Party: Executive Committee Meeting 12/11/15 to Decide on Potential for Litigation in Maine

LPME-header-logo_small_1The LNC Executive Committee met today to decide whether or not to initiate legal action in the situation in Maine reported on previously on IPR here.

In summary, Maine’s ballot access requirement (enacted in 2013) is that a new political party can qualify by having at least 5,000 registered members by December 1 of the odd year before the election. The Libertarian Party of Maine submitted paperwork for more registrations than the required number. According to the Maine statute, the Secretary of State has only five days to verify these registrations. The registrations are not submitted by the prospective new party to the Secretary of State directly but rather to local elections officials. Some jurisdictions did not process these registrations for delivery to the Secretary of State within the prescribed 5-day window, and thus the Secretary State only credited the Libertarian Party of Maine with approximately 4600 registrations.

Mr. Hall spoke to the potential legal grounds for pursuing a lawsuit against the Secretary of State. It appears that the December 1 deadline is unconstitutionally early in additional to the harm done to the Party under due process and equal protection.

An inquiry was made if there were any type of administrative appeal procedures that might obviate the need for a suit. Mr. Hall advised that this does not look promising as the State seems to have complied with the letter of the statute and there is a potential for irreversible harm in that these registrations might simply be un-enrolled from the Party in the interim; thus, injunctive relief is needed.

The Libertarian Party of Maine accomplished this registration drive with no assistance from the LNC. However, they do not have the funds for a legal action. Presently it does not appear that there are any similarly situated parties that might join any suit. The Green Party, for instance, has ballot access. Chair Sarwark noted that there are several issues here as well with registrations in general as there may be defective registrations which are curable; however, the short deadline made that impossible.

It was moved for the LNC to expend $4,000 for a legal retainer to draft a Complaint and flesh out the potential issues. It was passed without objection.

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

28 thoughts on “Libertarian Party: Executive Committee Meeting 12/11/15 to Decide on Potential for Litigation in Maine

  1. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    I was having a hard time typing while ya’ll were talking. That meeting moved fast.

  2. Andy

    I support the law suit, but everyone should keep in mind that it would not be necessary if the registration drive had been done correctly.

    There was no reason to turn in so many registration cards at the last minute. They had months to do this.

    Five people collecting just 25 registrations per day, which is not hard to do, could have knocked this drive out with plenty of padding in just 7 weeks. Remember, they were starting this up back in the spring. They had plenty of time.

  3. Andy

    Caryn, that is not an accurate way of looking at it. It was actually Alaska based fundraiser, Scott Kohlhaas, using a national LP fundraising list to get Libertarians around the country to donate to the registration drive in Maine. The LP of Maine is small, so most of the money almost certainly came from Libertarians outside Maine.

    Kohlhaas then purposely and knowingly steered a monopoly contract to gather the registrations to a mercenary petition coordinator, who then hired a bunch of non-libertarian mercenaries to collect the registrations.

    Most of the money raised did not go to the registration workers, most of it went to Kohlhaas and the mercenary coordinator to whom he directed the deal.

    No attempt was made to hire any actual Libertarians to do the registration collection, and any of the few Libertarians who inquired about the job were ignored.

    I have worked on LP registration drives a few times, although two of those times were very short, but one of them lasted for several weeks. I can get 25 LP registrations in a day pretty easily. I could do that working part time a lot of days. My best day getting LP registrations I got 80, maybe a few more, but I could have done better than that. If I was at a good location, and if I put in a long day, I could get 75-100 in a day, maybe more if it was a really good spot.

    If I was at slow locations, or if I only worked it part time, I could get say 20-40 registrations per day.

    I have worked on petitions in Maine, so I already know some good locations there, plus I know how to hunt for good spots.

    If they had brought me in back in say mid May, it is not inconceivable that I could have finished the entire drive by myself a good 4-6 weeks before the deadline. Give me a team of say one to four other experienced Libertarian ballot access warriors it would have been a slam dunk that we could have knocked it out well before the deadline.

  4. Pete Blome

    Did the representative from Florida, Vicki Kirkland, vote? If so, how did she vote? We in Florida have to read posts like this to know important votes are before National, and then ask how our rep voted. Considering she is against the Libertarian Party in Florida choosing its own candidates (she has repeatedly come out in favor of FS96.096 that allows any candidate that has enough funds, no matter how ridiculous that candidate may be, to run under the Libertarian banner), I would find it surprising she supports true Libertarian political competition in Maine.

  5. paulie

    Ms. Kirkland is not on the EC, which is the group that held this particular vote. The members of the EC are the 4 officers of the LNC (Sarwark, Vohra, Mattson, Hagan) plus 3 members who were voted on by the rest of the LNC at the post-convention meeting (Goldstein, Redpath, Lark). This particular vote, while important, was non-controversial. The meeting was held because either the bylaws or more likely the policy manual requires the EC to sign off on some expenditures.

  6. paulie

    What vote are you talking about? This was an EC vote and she is not on it, although she is on the LNC. Are you confusing her with Alicia Mattson? Or are you talking about some other vote the LNC took?

  7. Andy

    NewFederalist, if you don’t care enough to want to know why the Libertarian Party is failing, then you are the one who needs to get help.

  8. Andy

    Following a lot of the actions of the Libertarian Party is actually a good case study in how to not be successful in politics.

  9. Caryn Ann Harlos Post author

    Thank you for the correction George. It was all I could do to keep up with the typing while it was going on.

  10. paulie

    The heading on the paragrphs of the draft minutes says “Oklahoma” instead of “Maine”.

    Emailed her on that last night. I was probably not the only one.

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