Free the Vote Coalition formed

Free the Vote North Carolina has announced formation of the Free the Vote Coalition, an alliance of the state’s alternative political parties and several electoral reform groups, who have banded together to enact major ballot access reform this year.

Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Lenoir Republican, is expected to file the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 this week. It will be co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat. The bill will dramatically reduce the restrictions placed on new political parties and unaffiliated candidates attempting to get on the ballot.

“The Free the Vote Coalition is a truly non-partisan alliance of alternative political parties and public policy groups joined together in the common cause of the right to vote,” said Jordon Greene, founder and president of Free the Vote NC in announcing formation of the coalition.

In addition to Free the Vote NC, coalition members include the Conservative, Constitution, Green, Libertarian, and the Modern Whig parties, the N.C. Center for Voter Education, NC Common Cause, Democracy NC, and the John Locke Foundation.

“These groups have joined together to work to restore the right of every citizen to vote for the candidate of their choice, a right currently denied by the state’s exploitative, unequal and free speech stifling laws that keep most alternative political parties and unaffiliated candidates off the election ballot,” Greene said.

Greene said that it was very significant that the coalition includes political parties and groups representing all shades and colors of the political spectrum.

“North Carolina has the second most restrictive ballot access laws in the entire nation,” noted Greene. “This scheme is deliberately intended to impede competition to the two major parties by placing unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on any potential electoral competitors through restrictive signature requirements unparalleled in most other states.”

Key provision of the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011 are:

  • Reduce the number of signatures a new political party needs obtain for ballot access to the fixed figure of 10,000.
  • Reduce the number of votes a new political party must get in order to remain on the ballot the fixed number 10,000 for any statewide candidate.
  • Reduce the number of signatures an unaffiliated candidate for statewide offices needs to obtain to the fixed figure of 10,000.
  • Set a fixed number of signatures for unaffiliated candidates to run for U.S. House, the state General Assembly and local office.

For more on the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, go to Free the Vote NC.