RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s highest court on Friday upheld a state law that forces minority political parties to collect thousands of signatures before election ballots lists their candidates.
The state Supreme Court ruled that the law does not unfairly burden third-party candidates who want to join Republicans and Democrats on ballots. The law requires a minority party’ to collect thousands of signatures to show it has some public support before its candidates are listed. The petition process repeats in later elections if neither a party’s candidate for governor nor president receives 2 percent of the vote.
The Libertarian Party of North Carolina sued in 2005, saying the threshold to become officially recognized by the state as a political party is one of the highest in the country and puts a restriction on its members’ rights to freedom of speech, association and due process. A candidate for president or governor had to receive 10 percent of the vote for the party to remain on the ballot until the threshold was reduced to 2 percent in 2006. The Green Party of North Carolina later joined the lawsuit.