The 2009 session of the Vermont legislature moved the independent candidate petition deadline from September to June. This move has reduced choices on this year’s November general election. The Justice Party, the Constitution Party, and the Green Party, all made serious attempts to obtain the needed 1,000 signatures in time for the June 14 deadline, but all three failed. The only presidential petition that succeeded was the petition of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The problem is not entirely collecting 1,000 valid signatures; it is turning them in to the town clerks and having the town clerks verify the signatures in time for the Secretary of State’s deadline.
The Libertarian Party, Liberty Union, and the Progressive Party were already ballot-qualified and did not need to petition. The Progressive Party generally stays out of the presidential election, so, without legal action, the only choices on the Vermont November ballot for President will be: President Obama, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, Peta Lindsay, and whomever Liberty Union nominates. Generally, Liberty Union nominates whomever the Socialist Party nominates. If that pattern occurs this year, then Stewart Alexander will be on the ballot.
Five choices on the presidential ballot is unusually low for Vermont. That is the smallest number of choices for President in Vermont since 1972. A lawsuit is currently pending in the Vermont Supreme Court against the June 14 petition deadline, but it is not clear that that court will rule in time for anyone to get relief. The plaintiff, Jerry Trudell, had tried to be an independent candidate for Congress in 2010. Because that election is in the past, there had been no request for an expedited hearing in the Vermont Supreme Court.