Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Total Number of Signatures to get on Ballot for President in 2020 was the Lowest Since 1968

Ballot Access News

In the 2020 presidential election, support from 568,289 voters was required to get on the ballot for president (as an independent candidate, or the nominee of a new or previously unqualified party) in all 51 jurisdictions.

That figure uses the easiest method to get on the ballot in each state. In some states, the independent procedure is the easiest method. In others, the new party procedure is easier. The calculation uses the easier method. For California, it was deemed “easier” to get 196,964 signatures on a petition, than to persuade 68,672 individuals to register into a new party. Although 196,964 is a far larger number than 68,672, that is counterbalanced by the relative ease of getting a petition signature versus membership in a new party.

For Florida, the calculation uses a figure of 29, because a new party can become recognized with no petition, and can then be on for president if it has at least 29 registered members who become that party’s presidential electors. This year, Florida did not enforce its law requiring National Committee status from the Federal Election Commission. It didn’t enforce it in 2008 or 2012 either, but it did enforce it in 2016.

The number of supporters (mainly petition signers) of 568,289 is the lowest since 1968, when the number was 545,878. The 1968 number is somewhat ambiguous because it uses an Ohio figure of zero, because the US Supreme Court struck down Ohio’s petition requirements in 1968 and put the American Independent Party on the ballot even though it had not complied with the law. The Court said the Socialist Labor Party was also entitled to declaratory relief against Ohio, but that the SLP could not be on the ballot because it had asked for relief from the U.S. Supreme Court too late.

The 2024 requirements will be far, far worse than they were in 2020, if activists do not seek ballot access relief between now and 2024. The turnout in 2020 was so large that the states in which the requirements are dependent on turnout will have much higher requirements.

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