New Hampshire Bill, Restricting Flexibility of Newly-Qualifying Parties, is Signed into Law

On May 31, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed SB 236 into law. It says that newly-qualifying parties must identify their nominees in June, even though the petition to qualify that party is not due until August. The bill takes effect immediately. The only party that is adversely affected this year is the Libertarian Party, which is the only newly-qualifying party expected to successfully petition in New Hampshire this year. If the bill had not passed, the Libertarians would have more time to recruit more candidates. See this story. In New Hampshire, newly-qualifying parties nominate by convention.

The bill does not affect independent candidates. The bill is probably unconstitutional, at least as applied to a newly-qualifying party that has not yet chosen its presidential nominee by June. However, the Libertarians already chose their national ticket in May. If Americans Elect had not dropped out of the 2012 presidential race, and if it hadn’t chosen its national ticket by mid-June, then Americans Elect would have been in a good position to sue New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the only state in the nation in which no minor party or independent candidate has ever won a constitutional ballot access case.

The New Hampshire primary (for office other than President) is on September 11. The bill is discriminatory, because it forces newly-qualifying parties to nominate their candidates three months before the major parties must nominate.

6 comments

  1. And New Hapmshire is the free state?

  2. The other parties will likely choose the independent route?

  3. There has also been some confusion as to which form to file. Originally, LP candidates were told to file the “Declaration of Intent” form used by independent candidates, now it seems they must file the “Declaration of Candidacy” form which is only available from the SOS in Concord, NH.

  4. Demo Rep · · Reply

    As usual — WHATEVER a bureaucrat says is legally meaningless.

    The LAW is the LAW — i.e. an ARMY of lawyers is now needed for ALL election stuff — due to elections being a WAR event — nonstop ballot access battles at each election.
    ——-
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. – to reduce the madness.

  5. […] Libertarian Party. NH: “On May 31, Gov Lynch signed SB 236 into law. It says that newly-qualifying parties must identify their nominees in June, even though the petition to qualify that party is not due until August. The bill takes effect immediately. The only party that is adversely affected this year is the Libertarian Party.” […]

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