Libertarian And Green Parties Lose Ballot Access In Maryland

Sanders Jett-Folk | @Sjettfolk

In a blow to third parties’ ballot access, the Libertarian and Green Parties of Maryland were both de-recognized by the Maryland Board of Elections. Both parties failed to reach the party recognition threshold in the 2018 general election.

Qualifications For Parties

To become a recognized political party in Maryland, a party must collect 10,000 signatures. Those signatures must then be approved by the Maryland Board of Elections.

In order for a political party to maintain recognition in the state of Maryland, the party must nominate a candidate for the highest statewide office holder (the Governorship). That candidate must then receive at least 1% of the vote in the following general election.

In the 2018 Maryland Gubernatorial election, Libertarian nominee Shawn Quinn received roughly 0.6% of the vote. Green nominee Ian Schlakman received about 0.5% of the vote. Both missed the 1% threshold to maintain party recognition.

Voters registered under either party received letters from their county’s Board of Elections. The letters informed the voters that their parties failed to maintain recognition following the 2018 general election and that they could change their party registration to one of four options: Democrat, Republican, Bread And Roses, or Unaffiliated (Independent).

Voters registered under the Green party have been moved to the status “Others-Green”. Libertarian voters are now listed as “Others-Libertarian”.

Responses From The Parties

The Libertarian Party of Maryland released a statement on Thursday, urging Maryland Libertarians not to change their party registration status. The party affirms that they are doing “the work necessary to overcome the state’s ballot access restrictions, whether by petition or our pending federal court case.” They also state that new members can register as “Others-Libertarian”.

The Green Party of Maryland put out a similar statement on Saturday. The Green Party also urged voters to not change their party registration status, asking voters to help collect the 10,000 signatures necessary to regain recognition.

If the two parties have their status reinstated, either by petition or court decision, voters registered as either “Others-Libertarian” or “Others-Green” will automatically have their status as party voters reinstated.

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