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House votes to lower N.C. ballot access barriers

CHARLOTTE (June 8) - In a bipartisan 67-50 vote, the state House of Representatives approved a bill to dramatically lower the threshold for a new political party to gain and maintain ballot access in North Carolina. The bill lowers the number of signatures a new party must obtain to 0.25 percent of registered voters. That party could then retain ballot status by getting 0.25 percent of the votes for president, governor or any council of state office, whichever is lower.

Rep. Stephen LaRoque (R-Lenoir) introduced H.B. 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, with both Republicans and Democrats as primary sponsors. “There's a wide-variety of membership in support of this bill who have come together for the idea that it is too difficult under present law for those citizens who want to create a small party to get on the ballot,” said Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), a primary sponsor.

The House vote reflected bipartisan support with 38 Democrats and 29 Republicans voting in favor. The measure also has backing from a broad spectrum of groups from across the political spectrum, including the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Democracy NC, the John Locke Foundation and the N.C. League of Women Voters.

GOP vice chair endorses ballot access reform bill

CHARLOTTE (April 26) – The vice chairman of the N.C. Republican Party has endorsed passage of House Bill 32, the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011.

In a statement, Tim Johnson said, “House Bill 32, The Electoral Freedom Act of 2011, is a great opportunity to level the playing field and to give all citizens the equal opportunity to fully participate in the governing of our Republic.”

“As a Republican, I believe this party represents the best choice for Americans, but as a Republican I also believe allowing more political parties and individuals to participate in the electoral process will result in the best ideas and best people winning, and ensure that we’re not stuck with the status quo,” he said.

NC Supreme Court hears arguments in Libertarian-Green ballot access case

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what could be a landmark ballot access case for the state. The hearing culminated a five-year legal battle by the Libertarian and Green parties to reform the state’s restrictive ballot access laws.

Five of the seven justices grilled the attorneys for both sides. It appeared from the questions that the justices were very familiar with details of the case and the history of ballot access in the state.

The questions focused on several key issues, including the limits of the state’s compelling interest in regulating elections, what causes so-called “ballot clutter,” and the concept of “voter confusion” that may or may not occur with multiple parties on the ballot and multiple offices up for election.

Beitler says New York mosque issue being used for political expediency

by Brian Irving
Raleigh Libertarian Examiner

The issue of whether or not to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Towers terrorist attack has been hijacked for political expediency, said Mike Beitler, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. “To collectively blame every Muslim for the actions of a few is probably the most un-American act I can think of,” Beitler said in a op ed posted on his campaign website. “Our country was formed by the ideals of individual liberty, not blaming the innocent for a crime committed by the other.”

Libertarians and Latinos share belief in ‘neighbor helping neighbor’

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Mike Beitler told the North Carolina Latino Coalition Assembly yesterday that he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants and a pathway to citizenship. “I challenge my opponents to take the same stand,” he said.

“The role of government is to protect us from criminals, not immigrants,” Beitler said. “Immigrants, whether classified as legal or undocumented, are a benefit to North Carolina. They provide a much- needed work force, they are consumers who are spending their income in North Carolina and they are a great example to the rest of us of hard workers.”

Libertarians offer better solutions to the LGBT community than other political parties

Libertarians are challenging the view that Democrats are the only people who care about issues important to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. To explain why, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Dr. Mike Beitler has invited members of the LGBT community to meet with him August 7 in Greensboro.

The meeting will be at the home of Jack Register, Beitler’s campaign manager who is gay and a former Democrat.

Register said that the Democratic Party has had a shifting stance on gay rights issues. In contrast, the Libertarian Party has advocated equal rights in marriage, adoption, and military service, and the end of sodomy laws since 1976.

“What we’re doing is challenging the established idea that Democrats are the only ones who care about this community,” said Register. “We’re reaching out to those who are being disenfranchised by the mainstream parties.”

State Supreme Court to hear Libertarian-Green challenge to ballot access laws

The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Libertarian Party et al vs. The State of North Carolina, et al Thursday, September 9 at 9:30 a.m. This is the party’s challenge to the constitutionality of North Carolina’s ballot access laws.

The lawsuit filed in September 2005 claims North Carolina's ballot access restrictions violate the state constitution, which guarantees that all elections shall be free and that with very few restrictions every voter shall be eligible for election by the people to office.

The North Carolina Green Party joined the case as an intervenor in April 2006.

Wake public school debate theatrics needs adult actors

One speaker at yesterday’s Wake school board meeting who managed to speak before the theatrics began made an interesting point that goes to the root of the controversy over diversity versus neighborhood schools. While she said she supported the now abandoned diversity policy, she wanted the new board to succeed. All she wanted was for the board to “show me the money” and asked “where’s the beef.” In other words, she wanted to see the plan the board had to transition to neighborhood schools.

She has a point. After several months of demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, accusations and counter-accusations, the board majority has yet to reveal any details of its plan. Whether you support the diversity policy or neighborhood schools, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly where the school board is going?

Short session not short on limiting freedom

The annual assault on civil liberties, property rights and economic freedom is over in North Carolina, at least for this year. The General Assembly has adjourned. Hopefully some participants in the attack will become casualties in November.

Probably not enough to make a difference. Even if Republicans win control of either house, there simply will be new generals leading the next wave of the onslaught on freedom.

The only real possibility that the radical change needed can begin when the legislature returns in January is if one or more Libertarians are elected. Otherwise, it’ll be business as usual.

'Voter-owned elections' reform is a sham

The way Democrats in the General Assembly attempted to expand public financing of campaigns to all Council of State races was a clear example of the very corruption of power the scheme was supposed to end. The measure was created behind closed doors, without any public hearings and introduced on the floor without notice at the last minute.

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