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Virginia is More Isolated on Ballot Access than EVER; NC Makes it Easier to Get on the Ballot!

Great news from the Independent Political Report:  North Carolina just made it easier for third parties to reach the ballot – and they came up with two new and innovative ways to get ballot access other than 2% of the vote for Governor or President (about 94,250 votes – the LP gubernatorial candidate, Lon Cecil, got that  – just barely at 2.11 percent):

  • A new political party can get on the ballot if they (as a party) get enough signatures equal to .25% (one quarter of one percent) in the last governor’s race (about 11,800 signatures) as long as there are 200 signatures from each of the Tarheel State’s 13 congressional districts.

A certain blogger in Virginia proposed a concept similar to that (probably actually stricter than the NC bill!) in Style Weekly!

  • A political party could also garner ballot access if their Presidential candidate was on the state ballot in 70% of the states of the Union (35 – the Libertarians and Greens got that many states in 2016)

Here is the bill as written into law following the veto of the Democrat Governor Cooper.

The joint statement from the Libertarian, Green and Constitution Parties included this:


This is the most dramatic improvement in ballot access anywhere in the nation in 20 years, when Florida reduced its petition barrier for offices, other than president, for both minor parties and independents from three percent of the number of registered voters to zero, according to ballot access expert Richard Winger.

“This bill could also influence policy across the nation. Republican-majority legislatures in Tennessee and Indiana, and perhaps Alabama, may pass similar bills.

Virginia already is an outlier among ballot access with it’s ten percent rule for earning ballot access; this will isolate the Commonwealth even more.  If the NC party leaders are right, and Alabama liberalizes ballot access from the present 20% to below 10%, it will make Virginia even more of an outlier (Oklahoma reduced its 10% threshold to 2.5%) than ever.

Notice this was a bipartisan effort.  The GOP-led NC legislature passed the bill and legislators from both parties helped override the Governor’s veto.

It’s time for innovative solons on both sides of the aisle to come together and pass this or a similar bill in Virginia.  It’s way, way past time!  The governor ought to call for it in the State of the Commonwealth address, too.






About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

One Response to “Virginia is More Isolated on Ballot Access than EVER; NC Makes it Easier to Get on the Ballot!”

  1. Fed Up with Republican Party says:

    Republican Incumbent Protections, Sandy!

    Blame the Republicans for the ballot access issue. Who do you think kept Libertarian Cliff Hyra out of the debates?

    Same RATS ( Republicans against Trump) who gerrymandered GOPe Congressman Rob Wittman’s district by taking Dave Brat’s best two Counties from his epic 2014 primary win over Eric Cantor as punishment out of Brat’s 7th District to weaken him and gave them to Wittman’s First District to make it impossible to lose to a Democrat- those two counties? Hanover and New Kent. Now who would do that?

    Ryan McDougle and Chris Peace- that’s who.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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