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Election Night: Watching Ballot Access Successes: State-by-state

With the elections today, alternative parties, minor parties, or third parties (however you like to call them) in some states may move up or down on the rung of ballot access.

The chart below explains how in some states, the Presidential election year affords an opportunity for an alternative party to score the votes they need to earn official party status.

While the major parties (who control most state legislatures, therefore writing election law) don’t usually make it easy on alternative parties, some states at least provide windows of opportunity for statewide voting to earn a party its status. In some states, there are criteria set about how many votes, or what percentage of the vote, that a party earns on the Presidential line in order to be considered an official party. In more ballot-access-friendly states, then, a party might be allowed to get a reasonable number for any statewide race. But, other states might have no method of vote-earning, only a huge petitioning requirement. And, others might have vote-earning criteria that are more difficult or happen less often (ie: In California, a party can get 2% (or 1% of last regular vote) in any statewide race, but it only counts for the gubernatorial year.)

In New York, the only chance an alternative party (or “independent body”) has of becoming an official party and/or earning automatic ballot status happens at the Governor’s race, every 4 years. The first hurdle is gathering signatures to place one’ candidate on the ballot for Governor, that earns the right to have enrollees and be a party in some sense. But, to get automatic ballot status (easier to run local candidates, ballot reserved for party in each locality), in New York a party must earn 50,000 votes for their Governor candidate.

Research from Richard Winger of Ballot Access News
Reported over at Independent Political Report

Retention requirements for smaller political parties

First posted October 30th, 2008

Here are the vote percentages, by state, that each of the alternative parties has to get in order to retain a place on the ballot for the next election, without having to petition to get back on. The final column represents the last time such a requirement has been successfully met by a party other than Democratic or Republican. Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for the research.

Ala Any statewide office 20% 17-16-2 2000
Alas Governor or US Senator 3% (or 2% of total Regis.) 15.60.010 2004
Az President or Governor 5% (or .67% of total Regis.) 16-804A 2004
Ark President or Governor 3% 7-1-101(1) 1996
Cal Any statewide, gubernatorial years 2% (or Reg. 1% last vote) 5100a 2004
Colo Any statewide 1% (or have 1,000 reg.) 1-4-1303 2004
Ct Any (each office separate) 1% 9-372(f) 2002
Del Party’s vote irrelevant .05% 3001 2004
Fla Party’s vote irrelevant File list of officers 97.021(14) 2004
Ga Any statewide 1% 21-2-180(2) 2004
Hi Party’s vote irrelevant Be on last 3 elections 11-62(d) 2004
Id Party’s vote irrelevant Must have run 3 candidates 34-501(1)a 2004
Il Any statewide 5% 10-2 1996
In Secretary of State 2% 3-8-7-25 2002
Io President or Governor 2% 43.2 2000
Kan Any statewide 1% 25-302(b) 2004
Ky President 2% 118.325 1996
La Party’s vote irrelevant Must have 1,000 registrants 441 2004
Me President or Governor 5% at either of last 2 elec. 321.1 2002
Md President or Governor 1% lawsuit 2000
Ma Any statewide 3% (or 1% registration) 50-1 2002
Mi Any statewide 1% Sec State winner’s vote 168.685(3) 2004
Mn Any statewide 5% at either of last 2 elec. 200.02.7 2002
Ms Party’s vote irrelevant Must be organized 23-1-81(c) 2004
Mo Any statewide 2% at either of last 2 elec. 115.013(10) 2004
Mt Any statewide, either of last 2 elec. 5% of gub. winner’s vote 13-10-601 2004
Neb Any statewide 5% 32-521 2002
Nev Any statewide 1% of U.S. House vote 293.1715 2004
N H Governor or U.S. Senator 4% 652:11 1996
N J Lower house of legislature 10% of statewide vote 19:1-1 1913
N M President or Governor 5% 1-1-9 2002
N Y Governor Must poll 50,000 (about 1%) 1-104.3 2002
N C President or Governor 2% 163-96(1) 1996
N D Pres., Gov., Sec. Of State, Att. Gen. 5% 16.1-11-30 1996
Oh President or Governor 5% 3517.01 1996
Ok President or Governor 10% 1-109 1996
Ore Any statewide 1% of U.S. House vote 248.008(2) 2004
Pa Party’s vote irrelevant 15% registration membership 2872.2(a) never
R I President or Governor 5%, either of last 2 elec. 17-1-2(f) 2000
S C Party’s vote irrelevant Must have run 1 candidate 7-9-10 2004
S D Governor 2.5% 12-1-3(3) 1994
Tn Any statewide 5% 2-104(27a) 1968
Tx Any statewide 5% (or, 2% for Governor) 181.005(b) 2004
Ut Any statewide 2% of U.S. House vote 20-3-2(g) 2004
Vt Party’s vote irrelevant Be organized in10 towns 2103(23) 2004
Va Any statewide 10%, either of last 2 elec. 24.2-101 1994
Wa Any statewide 5% 29.01.090 2000
W V Governor 1% 3-1-8 2004
Wis Any statewide 1%, either of last two elec. 5.62(1b) 2002
Wy U.S. House, Governor or Sec. State 2%

One Response

  1. Check the corrected entry – I had to do major surgery on that post. If you load from cache hit ctrl+R.

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