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N.H. Civil Liberties Union Suit Argues New Law Shuts Out Third Parties

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties has filed a lawsuit in federal court that challenges a new state law limiting the time political parties have to collect signatures to get on the ballot.

The organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of the libertarian party.

State law now requires that political organizations collect the signatures they need in the year of the election.

NH Civil Liberties Union attorney Gilles Bissonnette says there was no time limit before, and argues the change makes it that much more difficult for third-party candidates.

“This law stacks the deck against candidates who don’t belong to a major party and really protects major parties from competition and prevents voters from being presented with alternative choices.”

He says the libertarian party has only twice successfully collected the several thousand signatures it needed to get on the ballot.

He says in both cases, the party had to start collecting the year prior.

There was a little opposition on the bill as it made its way through the Legislature earlier this year.

The House and Senate passed it on a voice vote, and Governor Maggie Hassan signed it into law in May.

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.

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