A group of Mainers attempting to establish an official Libertarian Party here has sued the secretary of state’s office, claiming that Maine’s rules for establishing a political party are unconstitutional and that there is not an adequate process for appealing decisions by the state. The suit centers on failed efforts last year by the Libertarian Party of Maine Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Brunswick, to become the fourth recognized political party in Maine. It alleges that Maine law violates First and 14th Amendment constitutional rights. Filed Jan. 4 in U.S. District Court by Portland-based attorney John Branson, the suit names as defendants Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and Assistant Director of Elections Tracy Willett, all in their official capacities.
Dunlap declined to answer questions from the BDN because of the open lawsuit but said in a written statement that he’s “confident that the elections staff followed the procedures outlined in Maine law to verify the enrollment figures.”
The Libertarian organization spent most of 2015 trying to provisionally enroll at least 5,000 Maine voters prior to Dec. 1, as Maine law requires for establishment of a new political party.
The organization claims it submitted names of 6,482 Libertarian Party enrollees representing 356 Maine towns and cities, but the secretary of state’s office ruled on Dec. 8, 2015, that only 4,489 of them could be verified in Maine’s voter database as registered Maine voters.