Three Libertarian Legislative Candidates Removed from Arizona Primary Ballot

On June 20, a Superior Court Judge in Maricopa County, Arizona, removed three Libertarians from the party’s primary ballot. They were all running for seats in the state legislature. Some Republican activists challenged their primary petitions, on the basis that some of the petition signers are registered independents.

Arizona elections officials had always believed that registered independents are free to sign any primary petitions, but the challengers argued that only registered Libertarians can sign a petition to place a Libertarian on the primary ballot. The judge agreed with the challengers. The party may or may not appeal. In any event, the three candidates are not allowed to be write-in candidates in the Libertarian primary for the same seats they had been running for, but every legislative district in Arizona always elects three legislators. The three Libertarians are free to be write-in candidates in the primary for one of the other legislative contests in that geographical area.

7 comments

  1. How does the required number of signatures compare with the number of registered Libertarians in the districts?

  2. ARS 16-322(A)(3) states that the signatures must be from people who “are qualified to vote for the candidate.” I believe that registered Independents cannot vote in the Libertarian Party primary; if I recall correctly, the Libertarian Party actually sued to make sure that would be the case a while back.

    To answer Sam, the number of signatures required is “at least one per cent but not more than three per cent of the total voter registration of the party designated in the district from which the member of the legislature may be elected.” So the number signatures should be 1% of the number of registered Libertarians in these candidates’ respective districts.

  3. “Arizona elections officials had always believed that registered independents are free to sign any primary petitions, but the challengers argued that only registered Libertarians can sign a petition to place a Libertarian on the primary ballot. The judge agreed with the challengers.”

    What??? I thought that in Arizona that it was legal for a registered independent/unaffiliated to sign petitions to place any candidates on primary ballots.

    If one can only get signatures for people who are registered under one party banner, it makes the petitioning a lot more difficult.

  4. “I believe that registered Independents cannot vote in the Libertarian Party primary; if I recall correctly, the Libertarian Party actually sued to make sure that would be the case a while back.”

    This has changed. Registered independents/unaffiliated can vote in Libertarian Party primaries.

  5. In Arizona, the better financed candidates often feel that it is better to defeat your opponents in Maricopa Superior Court in June, than to rely upon the judgement of the electorate in November.

    Sixteen statewide, legislative, and federal candidates were challenged in this election cycle: 3 Democrats, 6 Libertarians, and 7 Republicans. Of these, 1 Democrat, 5 Libertarians, and 1 Republican either withdrew from the election or were removed from the ballot.

    Through it all, my hero is Libertarian legislative candidate Dean Dill. Rather than spending his limited resources in court, he withdrew from state House race and filed papers to run as a write-in candidate for the state Senate in the same district. If he can get 5 Libertarian voters to vote for him in the primary, Mr. Dill will be on the general election ballot in November anyways.

    The Founding Fathers intended for elections to be decided in the voting booth and not in superior court. I refuse to vote for any candidate that prefers the judgement of a single superior court judge to that of the people whom he seeks to represent.

  6. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #3 In Arizona, petition requirements are based on the number of registered voters with the party. For statewide and congressional candidates it is 1/2 of 1%; for legislative 1%.

    Statewide: Republican 5671; Democrat 4765; Libertarian 113; Green and AEP 939.

    Congressional: Republican 189-914; Democratic 409-721; Libertarian 10-18; Green and AEP 64-137.

    Legislative: Republican 104-675; Democratic 231-630; Libertarian 5-11; Green and AEP 16-56.

    The minimums for new parties are based on 1/10 of 1% of vote for governor or president in the previous election.

    Winning write-in candidates must have a number of votes equal or greater than the number of signatures required to have qualified for the primary ballot, in order to appear on the general election ballot.

    Under Arizona law, voters who are registered as independents, or with non-qualified parties may vote in the primary election of choice; and as such are also qualified to sign petitions.

    But Arizona is operating under a federal court order, stemming from Libertarian Party v Brewer that determined “that non-Libertarian’s participation of the selection of Libertarian candidates on the ArizonaLibertarian Party’s (‘ALP) associational rights is severe”.

    Apparently, the state district court extended this reasoning to signing of petitions, and it is entirely reasonable. Given the low signature requirements, adherents of the Authoritarian Party could qualify candidates for the Libertarian primary ballot and likely be nominated. In 2010, there were 2572 voters in the primary, and unopposed Libertarian candidates for legislature typically got around 100 votes.

  7. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #4 The decision of the Arizona Libertarian Party to open their primary was made on June 15, with paperwork filed with the Secretary of State on June 20; which was also the date the state court issued its ruling.

    Are they related?

    All of this will be moot once Arizona approves the Top 2 Open Primary this November.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: