Last year the NCGA passed a law making it easier for smaller parties to get candidates on the ballot for state elections. Following the passage of that law, fewer signatures are now required for a third party to appear on the ballot, and any party that appeared on ballots in more than 70% of states in the previous presidential election is also eligible to apply for automatic access to the ballot.
What does this mean for you? Typically, a North Carolina ballot had candidates running as Democrats, Republicans, and in some races, Libertarians. We can now expect to see Green Party candidates begin to appear on our ballots. So far, another six parties have filed paperwork to appear on the ballot and are now collecting signatures. A party will need over 11,000 signatures to appear on the ballot, and the frontrunners are a long way short of hitting that target.
More candidates means more choice for voters, and hopefully more discussion of key policy ideas. A cynical observer might also note that Republican enthusiasm for the change may also stem from the possibility that the Greens will attract voters who might otherwise cast their votes for Democrats. Whatever the reason, a greater number of candidates standing for election makes it even more important that we demand that those who seek our votes are clear about where they stand on the issues that matter.