Libertarians and Green Party candidates would be virtually cut off from running for office under new nominating-petition requirements in a bill now on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk. Meanwhile, the legislation eases the number of signatures needed for Republican and Democratic candidates. On Tuesday, critics of the law said it’s a valentine for Republican candidates, who see third-party candidates, particularly Libertarians, as spoilers in races. The provision was tacked onto a wide-ranging election bill, House Bill 2305, one week before the Legislature adjourned. It passed on largely partyline votes in the closing hours of the session with the support of most Republicans and solid opposition from Democrats. On Tuesday, the minor-party officials said the bill, if signed, would cement the two parties’ hold on Arizona elections.
“This will squelch any dissent,” said Barry Hess, communications chairman for the state Libertarian Party. “This stuff has got to stop.”
The differences are dizzying, said Warren Severin, the Libertarians’ state chairman. For example, a Libertarian seeking to run for governor would face a 4,380-percent increase in required signatures, Severin said. In the east Valley’s Legislative District 16, the increase would be 4,463 percent.
That’s because House Bill 2305 changes the basis for qualifying signatures from 1 percent of all voters registered with a given party to a percentage of all registered voters. That creates such a high hurdle for gathering signatures that Greens would likely stop trying to run in a party primary and instead run as write-in candidates, said Angel Torres, the party’s state director.
Full Article: Bill makes qualifying harder for minor-party candidates.