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Judge's Ruling Makes It Easier For Libertarians To Get On N.H. Ballot

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

A federal judge has lowered the threshold for Libertarian party candidates to get on the November ballot in New Hampshire.

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Libertarians sued the governor and secretary of state on the grounds that the ballot access requirements were too burdensome during a time of coronavirus restrictions.

Libertarians can get on the ballot with 35 percent fewer signatures under the ruling issued by federal judge Joseph Laplante.

In his order issued Tuesday, Laplante wrote that COVID-19 restrictions combined with "strict enforcement of New Hampshire’s ballot-access signature requirements imposes a substantial burden, but not a severe one.”

Libertarians had sought automatic ballot access, but this ruling increased the likelihood they can gather the needed signatures for candidate petitions by August 5.

Under the ruling, which followed hearings last week, candidates running for president, governor, and U.S Senator will need to submit signatures of 1,950 registered voters, instead of 3,000.

For candidates for Congress, the needed number of signatures will be 975 signatures, rather than 1,500.

Candidates seeking seats in Concord, or for county offices will need 97 signatures, instead of 150.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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