North Dakota held its primaries on June 12. Three parties were on the primary ballot, and voters were free to vote in any party’s primary, Republican, Democratic, or Libertarian. The Libertarian Party only had one candidate for statewide office, Roland Riemers. He was running for Secretary of State. The law requires winners of statewide primaries to receive at least 300 votes. If they don’t, they can’t appear on the November ballot.
Riemers was credited with only 247 votes, so he is not on the ballot in November. As a result, the Libertarian Party won’t be able to remain on the ballot as a qualified party after November 2018. The law requires the party to poll 5% for either Secretary of State or Attorney General this year. The 5% vote test must be met every two years, and now it cannot be met in 2018. To get back on the ballot for 2020, the party will need 7,000 signatures collected during 2019 or 2020.
All the statewide Libertarians in the 2016 and 2014 primaries received over 1,000 votes, and even in earlier years, always polled at least 500 primary votes. It may be that 2018 has the most polarized electorate in the United States in many years, and voters who in previous years were willing to vote for minor parties, this year are either highly motivated to vote Republican or Democratic, depending on whether they have passionate feelings either pro or con about President Donald Trump.
Ironically, a poll published June 21, which included in the Secretary of State’s race, showed Riemers getting 6% of the general election vote. The race is very unusual, because the Republican Party has no nominee, but the incumbent Secretary of State is running for re-election as an independent. The poll shows Jaeger leading with 51%, and the Democrat, Josh Boshee, at 32%. Assuming Jaeger is re-elected, he will be the first person elected Secretary of State as an independent in U.S. history.