A nationally recognized ballot access law expert said the N.C. Supreme Court made a wrong decision in upholding the state’s elections laws. The court ruled last week that the law did not violate the U.S. or state constitutions, putting an end to a five year long challenge by the state Libertarian Party.
“The N.C. Supreme Court certainly wrongly decided the case,” said Richard Winger, founder and editor of Ballot Access News. “It is outrageous that the court ignored an overwhelming amount of evidence in the case.” For example, the court majority said that the 85,379 signature requirement for new political parties was necessary to prevent “frivolous and fraudulent” candidates from getting on the ballot.
“The requirement was not raised in order to stop ballot clutter, as the record in the lawsuit showed,” he said. “The requirement was raised because legislators were upset that the Socialist Workers Party had qualified for the ballot in 1980, the first time that a Marxist political party had ever appeared on a government-printed ballot in North Carolina.” From 1929 to 1981, when only 10,000 signatures were required for a minor party to qualify, only four parties every appeared on the ballot.