A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit by the Libertarian Party seeking to strike down a New Hampshire law that it argues could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire is challenging a 2014 law that requires a third party seeking to gain access to the ballot through verified signatures to collect those signatures during the same year as the election. Judge Paul Barbadoro upheld the law last year, finding that it creates reasonable restrictions that are justified by the state’s interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is set to hear the Libertarian Party’s appeal Monday.
Currently, a third party can have its nominees placed on the ballot by winning at least 4 percent of the vote for either governor or U.S. senator in the most recent election or by collecting signatures equal to 3 percent of the total votes cast during the prior election.
In 2012, the Libertarian Party ran candidates for president, vice president, congressional seats and several state-level seats after collecting the needed signatures. Because that was before the new law was in effect, the party was able to begin the collection process in 2011.