A federal judge on Thursday denied the Arkansas Libertarian Party’s request for a preliminary injunction that would allow the party to add or substitute nominees for inclusion on ballots for the Nov. 8 general election. […]
[Judge] Moody said that one of the four considerations in deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction is the plaintiffs’ likelihood of succeeding on the merits of the case. He said the probability of that is low in this case, because the plaintiffs — the party, its chairman and three potential candidates — “had the opportunity, the ability, and actually conducted their party convention. They nominated candidates for 17 state and local races.”
He said [Secretary of State] Martin’s “strong interest in preventing voter confusion by limiting ballot access to serious candidates” also persuaded him against granting a preliminary injunction to allow the substitutions and to prevent Martin from enforcing provisions of the 2015 law that the Libertarian Party is challenging.
No state has ever before required a party to select its nominees in the calendar year before the election. Candidates must file for the Republican and Democratic primaries by the same unprecedented early deadline, but the primary is not held until March. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas held a nominating convention in October to comply with the law, and will be meeting tomorrow in a convention that had intended to nominate additional candidates if the lawsuit was successful.