LP.org: Libertarian Party registration surges 92% in 10 years


The fastest growing political party in America! - Libertarian

The number of U.S. voters registered as Libertarian has surged by 92 percent since 2008, reports Ballot Access News in its March 2018 edition. That increase has come at the expense of both Democrats, who are down by 8 percent over the same time period, and Republicans, who are down by 5 percent. The number of voters registered as independent or with other parties has increased by 19 percent.

“This is heartening news,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “In 2016, our presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson received a record number of votes for a Libertarian in a presidential election, even surpassing the vote total for Ron Paul in 1988. The grassroots energy we are seeing in 2018 is amazing. The LP has set a national goal of running more than 2,000 candidates for federal, state, and local office this year.”

The list of this year’s Libertarian Party candidates has reached 619 so far, and more are added daily. The LP has already attained ballot access in 39 states.

“Of course, the ultimate goal is to win elective office and to change government policy in a way that benefits all Americans,” Sarwark said. “There are currently 158 Libertarians who hold elective office in state and local governments. We believe that the catalysts are in place for Libertarians to continue surging and surpassing both Democrats and Republicans in terms of voter numbers and elected officials.”

Democrats continue ratcheting up both domestic government spending and taxes. Most voters agree with Libertarians that the problem is not that taxes are too low, it’s that government spending is too high — and taxes wind up rising to pay for it all.

Republicans continue increasing spending for military, intelligence, and police even while they say they want to cut taxes. Most voters agree with Libertarians that you can’t have it both ways; government spending needs to drop along with the tax rate. Furthermore, voters agree with Libertarians that more than half of the government’s military spending is wasted on counterproductive involvement in foreign civil wars. We also waste about half of our law enforcement budget on locking people up for consensual “crimes” like using cannabis.

“Voters sense that government spends too much, both at home and abroad,” Sarwark said. “Voters sense that their retirements are in jeopardy from to the ill-advised Federal Reserve policy of lowering the return on savings. Democrats and Republicans are in denial that we have a problem. Libertarians recognize both the problems and the necessary solutions, and have the courage to ask the American people to let our candidates for public office help restore freedom and sanity.”

12 thoughts on “LP.org: Libertarian Party registration surges 92% in 10 years

  1. Andy

    While dues paying membership is less than half of what it was 17-18 years ago, and the number of elected Libertarians is less than 1/3 of what it was 15 years ago.

  2. George Phillies

    Of course, you want to be sure you have plausible information about the number of elected libertarians in 2003.

    Yes, decisions were made around 2000 that crashed our party dues-paying membership, and it has taken a while to correct that.

  3. Andy

    George, I have looked up those figure before, and I even posted a link to it here awhile ago.

  4. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    So libertarians have grown by 247,298 and the demopublicans have shrunk by a couple million of their tens of millions? Somebody do the real math.

    And don’t tell Marc Montoni. He might freak out more. 🙂

  5. Jim

    I don’t have the print edition of BAN, but I’m pretty sure that is worded incorrectly. Richard Winger has better data than what is publicly available, but from what I can tell there are around 513,000 registered Libertarians now. Winger reported 225,000 in February 2008. Which is a 128% increase. What likely increased by 92% is the percentage of the electorate which is registered as Libertarian. It was 0.24% in 2008 and probably around 0.46% now.

  6. Jim

    There were two great increases in LP membership that contributed to the 33,000+ peak membership print in 2000: 1995 – 1997 and 1997 – 1999. They were followed by two significant collapses in membership: 2001 – 2003 and 2005 – 2006.

    They are very easy to explain.

    The 97-99 runup and 01-03 decline is attributable to Project Archimedes. It began in November 1997, peaked in November 1999, and was wound down and discontinued by the 2000 convention. It was canceled because it was a net loss to the LNC. Several million pieces of mail were sent out to gain around 10,000 donors.

    Here’s a summary of Project Archimedes at its halfway mark, in December, 1998:


    It was losing money a year in, but that was disregarded because the LNC had been doing a lot of test mailings. The LNC was banking on improving the response rate in 1999 by using the more successful test mailings from 1998. And it ramped up mailings over the next year in accordance with those expectations. It backfired. If you read the emails from the EC from 1999, they become quite alarmed at the falling response rate even as the number of mailings was ramped up and costs were rising.

    So Archimedes was canceled and by the end of 2003 the people it brought in were all gone. Even during the runup, they weren’t renewing, but their loss was masked because so many new members were being brought in.

    But Project Archimedes at least legitimately did create new donors and generate new revenue, even if it was a net loss to the LNC. The other runup, from 1995 – 1997, did not. That was just an accounting change.

    The Unified Membership Plan was created in 1995. It allowed people to join both the state and national parties with one single $25 donation. Only 45 states joined the program, and they didn’t all join at once (some states didn’t join until 1998 or later), which created an extended, multi-year runup.

    What the Unified Membership Plan did was count all of the people who had previously only donated to their state parties as national party donors. It didn’t create any new donors or generate any new revenue. It just took state level donors and state level revenue and filtered it through the national party. It was an illusion. And when the UMP was canceled on September 30, 2005 and all of the state-party-only donors returned to only donating to their state parties, the illusion vanished. So, over the next 12 months (remember, the Membership number is a 12 month count), membership dropped from 20,000 to 12,000.


  7. Andy

    Other factors impacting registration totals for the LP:

    1) US population has increased.

    2) Lots of libertarians registered to vote as Republicans to vote for Ron Paul in tbd Republican primaries. A good percentage of these people switched back to Libertarian, or switched to Libertarian for the first time, after Ron Paul retired from running for office.

    3) The word libertarian has become more popular. A lot of this has to do with people not active in the LP, but who are high, or relatively high, profile figures using the word, such as Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, John Stossel, etc…

    4) A few states started allowing the voter registration process to be completed online, if the person registering has a driver’s license or state ID card from that state. Lots of libertarians are computer geeks, so this likely skewed the results in the direction of more registered Libertarians.

    5) While the Libertarian Party has not done a lot of paid voter registration drives, it has done a few here and there, like in Maine from 2015-2016 (although given that the vast majority of the paid registrations in ME were collected by non-libertarian mercenaries, I would wager that the bulk of these were soft registrations rather than hard registrations/a soft registration is one where the person registered has little or no real commitment to the party, and a hard registration is one where the person has at least some, or a lot, of real commitment to a party).

  8. paulie Post author

    While dues paying membership is less than half of what it was 17-18 years ago, and the number of elected Libertarians is less than 1/3 of what it was 15 years ago.

    Dues paying membership is slightly higher than the average of the last few years. 17-18 years ago is not fully comparable, due to BCRA/McCain-Feingold among a bunch of other reasons. The number of elected libertarians is mostly an information problem, ie there are over 500,000 LP “members” by one definition or another (registered LP voters, pledge signers, state and national dues paying members, etc). There are also over 500,000 elected and appointed public offices in the US. It’s highly likely that there is much more intersection between those two sets of 500,000 plus than the party is aware of. With a bigger budget, more regular member communications, and much closer cooperation between national, state and local LPs under the united membership plan in that past time frame it’s not surprising that the national party was more aware of more members in office at some level.

  9. paulie Post author

    While dues paying membership is less than half of what it was 17-18 years ago, and the number of elected Libertarians is less than 1/3 of what it was 15 years ago.

    Yes, but you missed some context, such as whether the list that showed much larger numbers of elected LP members in the past were kept up to date and maintained. It may be that once someone got on the list they tended to stay on even after they lost their office or cut their connection to the LP and so on.

  10. paulie Post author

    Other factors impacting registration totals for the LP:

    1) US population has increased.

    As Jim indicated above the 92% increase is in the share of US registered voters. It’s higher than that for raw number increase.

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