Category Archives: Ballot Access

Can Frank Win?

This is a question I have heard over and over since Frank Gilbert announced his candidacy last year. To be honest, it is one of my favorite questions to hear a voter ask. The answer is always “yes.”

Frank has a track record of winning elections. In fact, he has held more elected offices than “front-runner” Asa Hutchinson. So, yes Frank can win; he already has. I guess the better and bigger question is, can Frank win the gubernatorial election? Once again the answer is “yes.” Will it be easy? No.

Before I go any further, I think it would be best if I defined what victory would be. The Libertarian Party is actually seeking two victories on Election Day: ballot access and a Libertarian governor. One is very much within our reach. With just 3% of the vote, the Libertarian Party will retain ballot access, ending the two-party system in Arkansas. This would be a huge victory for the Libertarian Party, saving us more than $30,000 in petition costs per election cycle.

Electing a Libertarian governor will not be easy, but it is doable. After all, the United States has been faced with more impossible challenges before. It was not an easy task for the founders to win America’s independence; in fact, it was improbable, but they did it anyway. Until Arkansas takes that same stand to declare its independence from the Republicrats and Demopublicans (as Frank likes to call them), Arkansas can never move forward.

Arkansas Republicans ran on repealing Obamacare, but instead they expanded it, along with every single Democrat in the Senate and House. Frank Gilbert is the only candidate in this race who unequivocally opposes the Obamacare “Private Option.” He is also the only candidate that supports putting parents back in the driver’s seat, by passing universal school choice.

Our quest isn’t as hard as what our founders faced. We can declare our independence through the ballot box.

But can Frank win? Perhaps a more compelling question is this: Can Arkansas win? We face the choice of a career politician, a D.C. lobbyist, or a hard-working and principled citizen like Frank Gilbert as our next governor. In my opinion, Arkansas can win only if Frank wins. And that can only happen if we stop asking questions about what is possible and start voting for the best choice, regardless of political party team-loyalty.

—Tyler Harrison, LPAR Executive Committee Member, At-Large

Reforming the Electoral System Now

In Plato’s treatise, “The Republic,” several different practical forms of government are discussed, including a criticism of democracy. During Plato’s lifetime, the Greek city-state of Athens had already practiced a direct-democracy style of government for many generations, and Plato had some very unflattering opinions concerning democratic politics. In summary, Plato theorized that only those individuals who are motivated by influence and control would seek power in a democratic society and that most citizens would relinquish their decision-making authority to a political class of demagogues. Similarly, Socrates also professed the sentiment that a democracy based on lawlessness is dangerous. In the dialogue, “Gorgias,” Socrates theorizes that everyone participating in the political process can suffer greatly if the society agrees to commit heinous acts such an unjustified military action against another nation for the sake of resources. Plato and Socrates agreed that the ideal ruler of a government is a philosopher concerned with the welfare of all the nation’s citizens and the pursuit of wisdom rather than wealth and power.

In the American experiment of government with a constitutional republic and democratic elections, it is crucial that those individuals seeking elected office are endowed with the wisdom to serve and help rather than the desire to rule and control. Otherwise, this experiment with democratic government is doomed to failure, as history has demonstrated in the classical republics of Greece and Rome. While many are unaware, all American citizens are potentially very politically influential. This heavy influence occurs because the decisions made by our leaders can directly affect the whole world. This moral imperative creates a responsibility to select leaders that will make thoughtful and wise judgments. Therefore, narcissistic, egotistical, and self-promoting leaders are the most dangerous enemies to a democratic form of government. They represent the ruin of a free society.

As Americans, it is our duty to be engaged in some form of leadership, even if it is simply staying informed about international events and domestic policies. To otherwise disregard this sacred duty is a perilous act of negligence. However, what is most discouraging is that ordinary Americans, outside of the political aristocracy, are no longer allowed to participate in the electoral system. In the United States, the elections only allow for two political parties to participate, which creates a basic duopoly on power and access to the government. While a majority of voting Americans may actually like the current two party system, it is not a legal or justified political arrangement, because it eliminates minority representation. This is the kind of democracy that Plato warned us about, and this is how a democracy turns into tyranny for those individuals who seek to speak the truth instead of what is politically advantageous.

As an American, it is no longer my right to run for public office unless I have the blessings of the plutocratic mafia that currently controls the two major political parties. Thus, to say that our elections in America are free would be an outright lie or a misunderstanding of the democratic process. Currently, only the well-vetted insider is allowed to even run as a political candidate, and no outside voices of dissent are allowed to seriously participate. This current system is allowed to exist through unconstitutional ballot access laws and by auxiliary devious means of bureaucratic control. These have the effect of banning and discouraging other political parties from engaging in elections. If this outrageous trend is allowed to continue, our democratic system of elections is doomed to only produce tyrannical and narcissistic leadership and to serve the interests of a powerful elite against the will of the people.

In my opinion, Americans should demand that this electoral system be reformed immediately, to allow all political parties and citizens to participate, regardless of economic or ideological disposition. Otherwise, the distant warnings of the past regarding the evils of democratic tyranny will haunt the United States, and the citizens of this country will be enslaved in governance by oligarchy.

—Jacob Holloway, LPAR candidate for Secretary of State

Campaign Season is here!

I’d like to encourage all Libertarian Party of Arkansas members to be active campaigners for the many Libertarian candidates we have on the ballot in Arkansas this year. It took a lot of hard work and money to achieve ballot status for our candidates, and we need to make sure that effort was for a good reason.

You can find our list of Libertarian candidates at the LPAR web site. Pick out at least one campaign (or more) that you can commit to work for. There are many ways that you can help—from telling your friends, to door-to-door campaigning, to making a financial donation, to arranging events for the candidate, to attending events with the candidate, and much more.

Our candidate for Governor, Frank Gilbert, will provide the LPAR with continued ballot status if he receives at least 3% of the vote in November. That would save us a lot of time, effort, and money. It’s up to us to do what we can to make that happen. So let’s GET INVOLVED!

—Kathleen Wikstrom, LPAR Vice-Chair

LPAR 2014 Post-Convention Press Release

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas nominated 26 candidates, the largest number in its history, for the 2014 election ballot at its state convention, held this weekend in Little Rock.

Heading the state Libertarian ticket is Frank Gilbert, running for Governor of Arkansas. Gilbert currently serves as constable of Dekalb Township in Grant County, attending to the rural areas of northwest Grant County. Gilbert also served as mayor of Tull, Arkansas, for eight years, coroner of Grant County for two years, and is a former president of the Bauxite Education Association.

“I am excited by the opportunity, as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Governor, to carry the message that free men and women have an absolute right to conduct their lives in any way they choose, so long as they don’t infringe on the equal rights of others,” Gilbert said, “as well as our absolute responsibility to bear the result of our actions. The Libertarian Party is the only political entity that has that message for the voters of Arkansas. I believe it will be a refreshing change from the politics-as-usual of the old parties. I intend to campaign vigorously throughout the state.”

If the Libertarian Party candidate for Governor receives at least 3% of the vote, the party will be automatically certified to run candidates in the next election cycle, without having to petition for a spot on the ballot.

Libertarian candidates nominated for other statewide races are Nathan LaFrance, U.S. Senate; Christopher Olson, Lt. Governor; Jacob Holloway, Secretary of State; Brian Leach, Auditor; Chris Hayes, Treasurer; and Elvis D. Presley, Land Commissioner.

Libertarian candidates for US Congressional seats are Brian Willhite, 1st district; Debbie Standiford, 2nd district; Grant Brand, 3rd district; and Ken Hamilton, 4th district.

Candidates for Arkansas House include Wayne Willems, District 15; Marc Rosson, District 20; Greg Deckleman, District 31; Rodger Paxton, District 51; Taylor Watkins, District 80; Eddie Moser, District 95; Michael Kalagias, District 96.

Candidates nominated for other Arkansas races include Valerie Emmons, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 2; William Brackeen, Pulaski Co. Justice of the Peace, District 13; Christian Parks, Lonoke Co. Justice of the Peace, Ward District 2; W. Whitfield Hyman, Springdale Constable; Jacob Faught, Gentry Constable; Glen Schwarz, Pulaski Co. Judge; and Shawn Hipskind, Saline County Judge.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest party in Arkansas. The Libertarian Party of Arkansas formally submitted more than 16,000 signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office last October in order to run candidates on the 2014 ballot.

Release: AR Libertarians are Back!

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 1, 2013

The Libertarian Party is Officially Back on the Ballot

(Little Rock, AR) The Libertarian Party of Arkansas (LPAR) is officially a recognized political party for the second time in history and will now be able to run candidates for office in 2014.

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 verified as signatures of registered AR voters.

During the 2012 general election, more than 100,000 votes were cast for Libertarian candidates in AR. However, the Libertarian Party was required to re-petition the state after Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, did not receive three percent of the vote in 2012.

Dozens of potential candidates have already come forward, hoping to receive the party’s nomination to run for office in 2012. Frank Gilbert of Tull, Glen Schwarz of Little Rock and Shawn Hipskind of Alexander have all announced that they plan to seek the party’s nomination for Governor.

The LPAR will nominate candidates at their convention, scheduled for February 21-23 in Little Rock.

“While we are excited about the prospect of running candidates in 2014, I must say, this has been an exhausting process,” said Jessica Paxton, LPAR Chairman. “The ballot access laws in our great state were written by Democrats and Republicans who have a vested interest in imposing crippling requirements on anyone who dares to challenge them.”

Libertarians advocate lower taxes, more personal freedom and less government intervention.

“A major issue here is that hundreds of thousands of voters cast their ballot for third party and independent candidates every two years here in Arkansas,” said Paxton. “And the powers that be are trying to silence that dissenting voice by requiring this petition process that costs tens of thousands of dollars, takes thousands of man-hours and then, by the time we have access to the ballot, our resources have been exhausted before campaigning even begins.”

The LPAR is now seeking candidates to run for office in 2014. “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 Debbie Standiford, Chairman of the Pulaski County Libertarian Party.

If the Libertarian Gubernatorial nominee earns three percent of the vote in the 2014 election, the party will automatically retain ballot access for 2016. 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.

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In 2011, for the first time in party history, the LPAR submitted enough signatures to the Secretary of State to be a certified political party. In 2012, 15 Libertarian candidates appeared on ballots across Arkansas and received more than 100,000 votes. Frank Gilbert, former mayor of Tull, AR, became the state’s first elected Libertarian when he was elected Constable of Dekalb Township. Gary Johnson, the party’s presidential nominee, tripled the Libertarian vote totals from 2008. Johnson received 16,276 votes, or 1.52 percent. Falling short of the three percent needed to retain ballot access for 2014, the LPAR lost ballot access after the 2012 general election.

In the fall of 2013, the LPAR again circulated a petition in order to obtain ballot access for the 2014 election. The party collected 16,505 signatures and submitted those to the Secretary of State on October 15, 2013. The Secretary of State verified that the LPAR met ballot access requirements on November 1, 2013.

LPAR in the news – “Third option for voters now on the menu”

A fantastic article by Steve Brawner, and independent journalist in Arkansas.

Third option for voters now on the menu

At the Cotham’s in the City restaurant near the Capitol, two potential candidates for governor are eating lunch at the same long table.

That might be awkward if they were both Democrats or Republicans, or if they were one and the other, and both had a chance to win. Instead, they’re both Libertarians — Frank Gilbert, who was elected a Saline County constable last year, and businessman Shawn Hipskind. A third potential candidate, Glen Schwartz, isn’t at the restaurant.

“In the past, Libertarians probably had to play ‘rock-scissors-paper’ to see who had to run for governor,” Gilbert jokes.

Party chairperson Jessica Paxton and her husband, Rodger, the party’s previous chairman, say their party has some momentum going into 2014. They point to the government shutdown as evidence that Republicans and Democrats can’t be trusted to run the government and that the government can’t be trusted at all.

Party members are under no illusion that one of their own will be elected governor next year, but it was nevertheless a time for celebration. A couple of hours earlier and after months of work, they had submitted 16,441 signatures to the secretary of state’s office in order to qualify for next year’s ballot. They need 10,000 valid ones.

Republicans and Democrats don’t have to do that because their presidential candidates won at least three percent of the vote in 2012. Third parties, who have trouble reaching that threshold, say such rules stack the deck in favor of the established two parties.

“The Republicans and Democrats say that, ‘Oh, we can’t have a cluttered ballot. Oh, we can’t give you too many choices because you’re not smart enough to determine between four people whom you would want to vote for, so we can only give you two,’” Jessica Paxton tells me over a plate of food that’s getting cold while I interview her. “I say, crowd the ballot. You know, if 12 people want to run for governor, let them.”

There was a time when Arkansas Republicans were where the Libertarians are — irrelevant but aspiring. Now they control both houses of the Legislature.

But that situation might be different. Democratic dominance was a holdover from the Civil War, but the two parties’ policies were not so very different. Libertarians are different. They mean it when they say they support smaller government. They typically support major cutbacks in social services and the military. They also usually favor gay marriage, abortion rights and ending the war on drugs.

They will have a convention next spring to nominate candidates. Paxton says she expects the party to compete for many positions and that members are interested in running in all four congressional districts and for the U.S. Senate seat.

That last one might have an impact in a close race. A recent Talk Business/Hendrix College poll found that Democrat Mark Pryor and Republican Tom Cotton are separated by only one point. Jessica Paxton collected 2.6 percent of the vote running for Congress in the 1st District last year.

Interestingly, that poll found that the largest bloc of Arkansas voters aren’t Democrats (31 percent) or Republicans (25 percent) but independents (36 percent). Counting the 8 percent who say they are “other,” 44 percent of Arkansans told a pollster they don’t identify with either of the two major parties.

Still, voters who call themselves independents tend to vote one side or the other. Pollster and analyst Jay Barth, a Hendrix College professor, said 71 percent of independent Arkansans voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. The three third-party presidential candidates only won about 2.5 percent of the vote combined.

Will voters give third party and independent candidates a chance in 2014? They haven’t much in the past.

However, there were many choices on the Cotham’s menu, and diners seemed capable of making their own decisions. Even rock-paper-scissors involves three choices.

Steve Brawner is an independent journalist in Arkansas. His email address is brawnersteve@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevebrawner.

Read more: The Courier – Your Messenger for the River Valley – Third option for voters now on the menu

LPAR making history – again!

It’s an exciting time for the LPAR and we invite you to celebrate with us!

On October 15th, members of our Executive Committee will be heading to the Capitol to turn in 16,000+ signatures from our ballot access petition drive. We would love to have you join us on the Capitol steps at 10am for a press conference. Immediately following the press conference, you are welcome to continue on to the Secretary of State’s office for a front-row seat to the signature hand-over process.
For those of you who have recently joined us, or for those that need a refresher, here is why this is an incredibly important day:The state requires 10,000 signatures of registered voters here in Arkansas in order to grant us “New Political Party” status. Once we turn in those signatures, the Secretary of State has 30 days to verify that 10,000 of our 16,000 are valid. Upon verification, the LPAR will be a recognized political party in Arkansas and will therefore be able to run candidates in the 2014 elections.

If you can’t join us, but would like to help with our mission of spreading true liberty across Arkansas, click HERE for a list of ways you can get involved.

We look forward to seeing you on the 15th! Email chair@lpar.org if you are interested in running for office, setting up a county affiliate or want more information about upcoming events.

In liberty,

Jessic PaxtonLPAR Chair

LPAR Ballot Access Drive 2013

The LPAR’s ballot access drive begins tomorrow! That’s right – we are officially on the way to regain ballot access for the 2014 election!

For those of you who weren’t around during petition time two years ago, here is how it works:

We have 90 days to gather 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters in AR and turn them in to the Secretary of State. (We really gather 15,000-16,000 to account for signatures that are “thrown out” due to unreadable entries, incomplete entries, those who signed and aren’t properly registered to vote, etc.) Once we have turned in the signatures, the SoS’ office has 30 days to certify that we DO have at least 10,000 valid signatures. Once that happens, we are “official” as far as the state is concerned. At that point, we will be able to run Libertarians for partisan offices around the state in 2014! Since we will be a “new political party,” we will nominate our candidates during the annual convention (Spring 2014) instead of participating in the primaries.

Would you like to volunteer to help gather signatures? Whether you have one hour, one day or one week to give, we could sure use the help! To request a petition packet, send your name, address and phone number to chair@lpar.org and we will get in touch with you asap.

Are you interested in running for office in 2014 as a Libertarian? Send an email to candidates@lpar.org with your name, address, phone number and what office/race you are considering so that we can help you through the process.

Arkansas Elected Libertarians!

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas, in it’s first time at bat with full ballot access, elected a partisan Libertarian to office! Frank Gilbert, former mayor of Tull Arkansas and former chairman of the LPAR, made history yesterday by being elected Constable of Dekalb Township in Grant County! I know you all join me in congratulating Frank for being the first ever Libertarian elected to partisan office in Arkansas history!

Also, Casey Copeland, LPAR Treasurer, was re-elected to a second two-year term as Prarie Grove Alderman. Congratulations, Casey!

LPAR candidates received a grand total of 96,255 votes in the state. This is a phenomenal start and gives us an excellent benchmark going forward.

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November…

***All vote totals in this email are based on the current 8:00pm 11/7/2012 results from AR SoS. At that time there are only 88% of counties fully reporting and 12% partially reporting.***

Remember, Remember the Sixth of November

A Battle for Freedom hard fought.

I see no reason why all of our victories 

Should ever be forgot

Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray shattered Libertarian Presidential Candidate vote totals in Arkansas yesterday! With 15,977 votes and 1.52% of the vote, they outperformed all of the Libertarian Presidential candidates in Arkansas in the last 20 years combined (14,269 for the campaigns of Barr 2008, Badnarick 2004, Browne 2000, Browne 1996 and Marrou 1992 added together)!Johnson / Gray also managed to come in higher than any previous LP Presidential candidate, coming in ahead of the previous record holder, Ed Clark in 1980, by 7,007 votes and 0.46%.

Libertarians in Arkansas voted for Johnson / Gray 11,201 (1.08% ) more  than Bob Barr / Wayne Allyn Root in 2008 , more than tripling the vote total and percentage by those candidates! This major accomplishement was earned in only 4 years of hard work by many libertarians across the state, and is the largest 4-year increase in votes and percentages that the LPAR has ever seen in its history!

Another historic feat is that for the first time, Arkansas is in the top 10 of state Libertarian Party vote percentatages for President in the US. We came in number 10 of 50 states, beating LP Power House states such as Ohio, Texas, Indiana and California!

Nationally, with 97% of precincts reporting, Gary Johnson / Jim Gray with 1,139,562 votes broke the 32-year record of 921,128 by Ed Clark and David Koch in 1980.