New Arizona law keeps Libertarians off ballot — just as GOP wanted

Barry Hess/Flickr/Gary Skidmore

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star

For the first time in more than two decades, Arizonans won’t have the option to vote for a Libertarian Party candidate for governor.

And that’s exactly the way Republican lawmakers designed it.

A law in effect for the first time in a statewide race makes it much harder for candidates of recognized minor parties to get their names on the general election ballot, either through petitions or write-in votes.

Supporters of that 2015 law made no secret at the time that it grew out of fear that Libertarians were siphoning off votes that otherwise would go to Republicans.

Barry Hess, who has been the Libertarian candidate for governor every election since 2002, said the law is based on the flawed premise that members of his party, denied the chance to vote for one of their own, would instead mark the ballot for a Republican. He said without a Libertarian on the ballot, party members generally are more likely to protest by refusing to vote.

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