New Hampshire Secretary of State Decides Not to Give Libertarian Party its own Party Column, Even if it Successfully Qualifies

On June 20, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, said that the only parties that will have their own party column on the November ballot this year are the Republican and Democratic Parties. He said all other candidates will be in the “Other” column. However, he is aware that the Libertarian Party is working hard on its petition to be a “political organization”, which requires 13,698 signatures by August 8. The party is mostly finished and expects its petition to succeed.

In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, interpreted New Hampshire law to mean that a group that successfully petitions to be a “political organization” does then get a party column on the general election ballot. The decision in Libertarian Party of New Hampshire v Gardner, 638 F.3d 6, says, “There are two ways in which a column on the ballot may be obtained. Any party recognized under state law (that is, one that received at least 4% of the prior vote for the pertinent offices) is able to obtain a column and choose the candidates who appear in it; these candidates ‘shall be arranged upon the state general election ballot in successive party columns.’ Any political organization that is recognized under state law (that is, one that obtained nomination signatures equalling at least 3% of the total votes cast in the prior state general election) has the same entitlement to a column, according to the affidavit of the Deputy Secretary of State David M. Scanlan.”

I was able to reach David Scanlan by phone on June 22. He said was not aware of what the First Circuit had said in its opinion. It is possible the Secretary of State will reconsider his decision not to give the Libertarian Party its own party column. In New Hampshire, the State Supreme Court has already ruled in Akins v Secretary of State, 904 A.2d 702, that discriminatory ballot placement is unconstitutional. Depriving one of the three parties expected to be on the November ballot of its own party column, while giving such a column to the Democratic and Republican Parties, certainly violates the spirit of the Akins decision. Every other state that uses party columns, except New Jersey and Wisconsin, routinely gives all political parties their own party column, whether they meet the statutory defintion of “party” or not.

The Libertarian Party was forced to nominate all its candidates this year in June, under the terms of a new law that didn’t even exist until May 2012. By contrast, the two major parties don’t nominate their candidates until the September primary. The Libertarian Party nominated a presidential and vice-presidential candidate, a nominee for Governor, for U.S. House in both districts, for Executive Council in three districts, for State Senate in three districts, and has 22 nominees for State House. There is no U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire this year, and there are no other statewide offices. Despite this, Mr. Scanlan said on the phone that the Libertarian Party should not be given its own party column because it doesn’t have a “full slate” of candidates. If “full slate” means a party must have nominees for all the state offices, neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party will have a full slate of candidates either; neither major party in New Hampshire ever runs for all 400 of the State House seats.


  1. Are you tired of seeing news on BAN that’s biased between the Libertarian and the Demopublicans as though we live in a two-party system?

    Elect your name (or another name(s) to represent you) to the 1000-member 9th USA Parliament before August 6th 2012, and be a part of a team that really DOES give every voter the liberty to self-categorize, where 1/1001ths (or .999%) plus one vote, elects the first 1000 names in consecutive order.

    Catch up on the latest news here:

    Join the Frees,
    Opposite gender #1!
    (With consecutively alternating genders thereafter)

  2. Tom Yager · · Reply

    Well, he is Bill Gardner after all. If he gets to tell the rest of the states when they may or may not hold their Presidential primaries, then certainly he can thumb his nose at the courts and the Libertarian Party!

  3. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Since when do mere robot party hack election law bureaucrats pay ANY attention to the mere courts and their mere opinions ???

    KEEP SUING to bankrupt the EVIL morons.

    NONSTOP mandamus and/or injunction and $$$ damages stuff.

    More and more Bush v. Gore HAMMERS on the skulls of the lawless MORONS.

    I.E. have a U.S.A. Marshal posse show up and arrest the morons and put them in a Fed jail for a few decades as an example for other lawless morons.

    The WAR for ballot access goes on and on and on.

  4. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    @1, BAN isn’t for the two party system. It is for allowing third parties to run for office. If you haven’t figured that out by now, I don’t know what you are still doing on this site.

  5. @1 Only thing i am tired of seeing at BAN is your comments along with one or two other people, but especially you.

  6. Maybe we can elect the nh sos to the us parliament and put them on an island with no internet?

  7. #7, I plug proportional representation every chance I get. Recently the paper edition of Ballot Access News had a favorable review of Joe Mathew’s book California Crackup. That book promotes proportional representation. I mentioned the advantages of proportional representation when I debated in Arizona last month. The audience applauded when I praised proportional representation.

  8. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Can we have more posts from Ogle and Demo Rep please? Their posts are always so enlightening and incredibly entertaining I just wish we could have more. Please? C’mon guys you can post more can’t you? We all really enjoy it. Thanks!

  9. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #9, I’m on the board of Californians for Electoral Reform, the group that does more than any other to work for proportional representation in California. You should join.

  10. We’re building for future generations too, 2016, 2020, etc.

  11. BAN = Censorship = Corruption

  12. Humongous Fungus · · Reply

    So Ogle, go somewhere else then. Please.

  13. Demo Rep · · Reply

    # 8, # 13

    Any 666 or 999 on some Obama body part ???

    Only his wife knows for sure ???

    Another Omen movie coming out soon ???

    Rather high death rates in the earlier movies.

    How many anagrams can the BHO name produce ???

    More than MR anagrams ???

  14. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    @13, I guess we have another troll on BAN. First Ogle, now this Vote GOP person.

  15. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Looks like a post was deleted since all the numbers being referenced are off. Hmm…..

  16. o rly? · · Reply

    The person posted the same thing on several articles here as well as several at IPR, for example here:

    It was pretty ridiculous trolling…

  17. perlgerl · · Reply

    re: “Every other state that uses party columns, except New Jersey and Wisconsin, routinely gives all political parties their own party column, whether they meet the statutory defintion of “party” or not.”

    Well, New York will combine some of the Minor Parties and Independent Bodies at the bottom if they aren’t running a full slate.

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