The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union is suing the state over a new law that it says will stack the deck against third parties trying to gain ballot access. The lawsuit, filed July 22 on behalf of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, challenges a requirement that nomination papers for a political organization “be signed and dated in the year of the election.” It compresses the time frame to collect these signatures and poses a hindrance for the Libertarian Party to compete, according to Gilles Bissonnette, staff attorney for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. “This law strips away voter choice,” he said in an interview.
The lawsuit, which names New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner, was filed in U.S. District Court. Citing the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the lawsuit claims the new language is an unconstitutional effort with what Bissonette calls “onerous restrictions.”
The House and Senate passed the bill on voice votes. In the House calendar, one of the Election Law Committee members said the change would “reduce the number of invalid signatures, due to death or relocation, which might arise if signatures are submitted earlier.”
Bissonnette maintains there was no evidence presented to support the change.