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Arkansas Libertarians sue over new petition law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A new law, signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month, is already in court. 

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is suing to overturn Act 164 that makes it more difficult for new political parties to access the ballot. It requires them to submit petitions with signatures equal to three percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

Based on last year's election turnout, the law would require new parties to get nearly triple the signatures, from 10,000 to 26,746.

"We told our legislators that they were re-establishing a standard that had been overturned in federal court back in 2006, but they passed it anyway," Michael Pakko, the chair of the state party, said in a statement. "We have clear precedent on our side."

Libertarians are also challenging aspects of another new law that moves primary elections from May to March in presidential election years.

"As if to add insult to injury, they made it even more difficult by moving the deadlines," said Pakko. "Prospective challengers to the established incumbents shouldn’t have to form parties and select candidates over a year before the general election." 

The complaint filed Thursday asks the court to declare these provisions as unconstitutional and issue an injunction to allow the party to submit the previously required 10,000 signatures. 


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