A federal judge has refused to block a 2015 Arizona law that its legislative proponents admit was designed to try to keep minor-party candidates off the ballot. U.S. District Judge David Campbell said Friday the Arizona Libertarian Party, in waiting until last month to challenge the statute, did not leave enough time for him to consider the merits of its claims or for Secretary of State Michele Reagan to defend the law. That’s because the deadline for candidates to file their nominating petitions is June 1. Campbell said there was no reason for challengers to wait as long as they did before asking him to void the law.
But he rebuffed a bid by attorneys for the state to dismiss the entire case. Instead, Campbell wants to schedule a hearing on the merits of the arguments and decide whether the law is valid and can be applied to the 2018 election.
Attorney Oliver Hall, who sued on behalf of the Libertarian Party, said he believes Campbell eventually will declare the law illegal.
Prior to this year, would-be candidates qualified for the ballot by getting the signatures of one-half of 1 percent of all party members within a given area. So for a Republican seeking statewide office, that translates to 5,660 signatures.