In Maryland’s 2010 gubernatorial election, both the Libertarian Party and the Green Party failed to draw 1% of the vote. That kicked the parties off the state ballot for future elections until they each collected 10,000 valid signatures. After a brief setback in May when the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld state election officials’ disqualification of thousands of signatures, Libertarians and Greens have now petitioned their way onto Maryland’s 2012 ballot. And Marylanders will have a full slate of Libertarians, a Green presidential candidate, and Green House of Representatives candidates in the fifth and eighth districts.
After the disqualification of signatures, the marginalized parties called the new signature guideline, which requires that the name signed must match — down to the middle initial — the signer’s voter registration record, “excessively strict.” In a recent article in Maryland Reporter, Membership Coordinator of the Maryland Green Party Bill Barry goes further, calling the state’s difficult-to-meet ballot access requirements “the Maryland version” of voter suppression. I’m inclined to agree. The Democrats and Republicans already have the distinct electoral advantage of being humongous and rich — do they really have to make it that hard for third party candidates and independents to even appear on the ballot?
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