(Little Rock, AR) The Libertarian Party of Arkansas (LPAR) is officially a recognized political party for the first time in history and will now be able to run candidates for office in 2012.
Last month the party submitted signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in order to fulfill the requirement of collecting at least 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the state. According to Martha Adcock at the Secretary of State’s office, more than 12,000 of the 16,000 submitted signatures were valid. This count was confirmed by an independent auditor.
The party placed presidential candidates on the ballot for more than 30 years but never met the more difficult requirement to run candidates for other offices. The LPAR’s success marks the first time in recent history that a third party has been able to run a partisan candidate for office in all 50 states for offices other than the president.
“This achievement is monumental for Arkansans who want more choice on their ballot,” said LPAR Chairman Rodger Paxton of Marion. “Now we won’t have to choose between big government and bigger government, but can vote for minimum government and maximum freedom.”
Libertarians advocate lower taxes, more personal freedom and less government intervention.
“In the voting booth, Arkansans will now be able to say that we want the government out of our pockets, out of our businesses, out of our homes and out of our personal lives,” said Paxton. “We are honored to have spent the last year working towards ballot access to give Arkansans the chance to tell the government to ‘back off’.”
The LPAR is now seeking candidates to run for office in 2012. “Whether running for city council or congress, we want liberty-loving Arkansans to take advantage of our efforts and represent true freedom on the ballot,” says LPAR Vice Chairman David Pangrac of Van Buren.
If the Libertarian presidential nominee earns three percent of the vote in the 2012 election, the party will automatically retain ballot access for 2014. If less than three percent is earned, the party will have to again submit 10,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for verification, a process that cost the LPAR almost $40,000. In 2010 the Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr received 0.44 percent of the vote.
In a statement given on Thursday, Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict said:
“This is an historic achievement. We are especially proud of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas for accomplishing this. And, the icing on the cake, from my perspective, is that they did this without funding from our national headquarters! A special thanks goes out to our new state chairman, Rodger Paxton, for leading this effort towards a successful conclusion. Based on this success, we’re expecting great things from the LPAR. The people of Arkansas, who love liberty, will have a new voice at the table.”
The Green Party of Arkansas is suing the state over the requirements to retain ballot access, which they feel are cumbersome. At this time, no other third party has achieved the requirements to run candidates in 2012.
The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is a state affiliate of the National Libertarian Party. The LPAR has been active since the mid-1970′s and has consistently placed a Libertarian presidential candidate on the ballot since 1980.
In 2002 the LPAR helped successfully placing “Axe the Food Tax” on the ballot. The amendment was defeated in the general election but was later adopted by other parties and a proposal to reduce the tax on groceries became law in 2007.
For more information please visit www.lpar.org or find us on facebook.