Bolstered by a unique political environment, the national Libertarian Party believes it could get on the ballot in all 50 states for the first time in two decades. But New England’s onerous ballot access rules stand in the way. National polls show both the Democratic and Republican nominees to be unpopular among voters — a situation that some political experts say is an opening for the Libertarians. While it’s extremely unlikely the Libertarians could win the presidential race, they could influence the final results — and make an unprecedented mark on political history. Currently Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Mexico, and his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, also a Republican, are on the ballot in 33 states. Of the remaining states where they are trying to get on the ballot, five are in New England. The only state in the region where they have made the ballot is Vermont.
In Massachusetts, Libertarians need to collect 10,000 signatures by the end of July to get their ticket on the ballot. But some signatures will likely be deemed invalid, so party members are shooting for 16,000 names on their petitions instead.
As part of the Libertarian Party’s efforts here, voters have been approached in public places, such as outside Stop & Shop grocery stores or along the Boston Pride parade route in the South End.