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.
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.