FairVote joins the Free the Vote Coalition

FairVote Action has joined the Free the Vote Coalition, a group formed to work for passage of a bill to dramatically reduce the ballot access restrictions for new political parties and unaffiliated candidates.

FairVote is a catalyst for reforming our elections to respect every vote and every voice through bold approaches to increase voter turnout, meaningful ballot choices and fair representation.

“That brings the coalition membership to eight public policy organizations, six political parties and one news source, a total of fifteen separate and politically diverse organizations,” said Jordon Green, Free the Vote North Carolina president, organizer of the coalition. Free the Vote NC is a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to protecting freedom of speech, association and the right to vote of every North Carolinian through education, research and legislative advocacy.

House Bill 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, would set at 10,000 the number of signatures a new party must collect to be listed on the ballot, or for an unaffiliated candidate to run for a statewide office, including governor, council of state or U.S. Senator.

A subcommittee of the N.C. House elections committee will hold an informational meeting, March 2 to discuss the bill. The purpose of the meeting is for committee members to ask questions and raise concerns. According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stephen LaRoque, they likely will work on a “committee substitute.”

Sen. Andrew Brock (R-34) will file a companion bill to HB32 in the state Senate this week. That bill is also expected to have bi-partisan support, including Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird (D-23).

The Free the Vote Coalition now includes the Conservative, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Modern Whig, and Reform parties, Ballot Access News, the N.C. Center for Voter Education, N.C. Common Cause, Democracy NC, Fair Vote, the Free and Equal Foundation, and the John Locke Foundation.