Ark. Libertarian Party Submits Enough Signatures For 2016 Ballot Access

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) – The Libertarian Party of Arkansas has submitted enough signatures for access to the 2016 ballot, officials say.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, the Arkansas Libertarian Party submitted 15,619 signatures on June 2. They needed 10,000 to gain ballot access for their candidates, and 11,918 signatures were found to be valid, according to a news release.

Before Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin can provide a certificate officially recognizing the Arkansas Libertarian Party as a new political party, they’ll have to submit an affidavit signed by their officers. Once that is done, the party will be able to field candidates for the 2016 election, the release states.

The Arkansas Libertarian Party has had to petition to be on the ballot for the last several elections in Arkansas due to their presidential and gubernatorial candidates not receiving at least three percent of the popular vote in any election they’ve run in, according to William Brackeen, secretary of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas.

Backeen said the party has had to hire professional petitioners in past elections to gain ballot access. Petition expenses in the past have been estimated to be $30,000, according to Brackeen.

In the 2014 gubernatorial election, Frank Gilbert ran for the Arkansas Libertarian Party and received 1.9 percent of the popular vote, the highest any Libertarian gubernatorial candidate has received in the state, Brackeen said.

Now that the party has submitted enough signatures to gain 2016 ballot access, candidates will have to be chosen to run in the election. During the last special session, Arkansas Legislators passed a bill moving primary elections from May to March 1. This means that the Libertarian Party of Arkansas will have to select 2016 candidates by Oct. 31, according to Michael Pakko, chairman of the Arkansas Libertarian Party. Candidates will file in November.