Home > Elected Officials, Libertarian, New Media, Politics > Republicans Once Again Move To Keep Third Party Candidates Off The Arizona Ballot (2015 Session)

Republicans Once Again Move To Keep Third Party Candidates Off The Arizona Ballot (2015 Session)

By Elisha Dorfsmith

This afternoon the Arizona Senate Government Committee voted to approve the GOP’s newest attempt at keeping third party candidates off the Arizona ballot. HB2608, a bill introduced by J.D. Mesnard (R), is very similar to last year’s HB2305 and would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible for third party candidates to qualify for primary ballot access in Arizona. Many third party candidates would be forced to collect more signatures than they have registered voters in their party.

The Arizona Constitution Party issued a press release asking Arizonans to contact their elected officials and urge them to vote no on this bill when it comes up for a full vote. I am printing the press release below in full but I will say up front that it has a couple errors that need to be pointed out. Namely, “qualified signers” will not be ALL registered voters. HB2608 says that qualified signers will be defined as members of your party, independents, and members of a party that does not qualify for ballot access. This clarification makes HB2608 slightly better than HB2305 but still nearly impossible for third party candidates to get on the ballot.

Here is the Arizona Constitution Party press release:

Here we go again!

In typical anti-competitive fashion, the Republicans are attempting to make it more difficult for third-party and independent candidates to compete in elections. The latest tactic is House Bill 2608 which modifies Arizona statutes relating to elections and was introduced by Representative J.D. Mesnard.

Don’t be fooled by the language of this bill. On the surface, it appears easier for candidates by reducing the number of qualified signers from one-half of one percent to one-fourth of one percent. But when you read this bill closer, it also redefines what qualified signers are. The current percentage of qualified signers is based on a candidate’s party affiliation. However, in the proposed revisions, qualified signers would be defined as ALL registered voters, regardless of party affiliation. To put this into perspective, an Arizona Constitution Party candidate running for U.S. Senate or a state office would need 5,835 qualified signers under the current structure. With the proposed changes, that number soars to 8,118. That’s an additional 2,283 signatures, or a 39% increase!

Flash back to January 2013. Republicans introduced House Bill 2305 which sought to make it more difficult to gain ballot access. However, thanks to voter opposition, it was repealed in February 2014 with House Bill 2196. This latest bill is just another pathetic attempt to make it more difficult for voters to have more choices and helps to ensure that members of the two major parties maintain their positions longer.

Ironically, numerous Gallup polls have shown that Americans strongly desire third parties which clearly have Democrats and Republicans running scared. The majority has been calling for a third party since 2007! In January 2014, 58% of those polled said “a third U.S. political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties ‘do such a poor job’ representing the American people.”

Call to Action:

We need your help! Please contact your House member(s) today and tell them to vote ‘No’ on HB2608. You can find the full list of representatives and their contact information here: http://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp?Body=H. Let your voice be heard!

Resources:

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