Incumbent Protection Act

The LPIA has had to fight a Libertarian and independent candidate suppression “Incumbent Protection Act” for the last three congressional sessions. Until this year we had been mostly successful in lobbying, directing outrage from Libertarians toward their representatives to the point where we were asked to “call off the dogs” by a metro state senator.

Unfortunately, in 2019, GOP legislators succeeded in moving up the filing deadline for candidates by five months to the end of winter, not exactly petition season. This resulted in the number of Libertarian candidates from thirty-five in 2018 to seven in 2020, which is exactly the intent of this Republican law. When I was state chairman, I worked with national Libertarian leaders and former LPIA governor nominee Jake Porter to attack this bill in the courts. Porter is now suing under constitutional grounds.

Expected to be signed by Governor Reynolds this week is another version that will increase petition signatures up to 360% and add a significant hurdle by increasing the number of signatures in individual counties to 1,900 (19 counties, minimum of 100 signatures each) and doubling the number of delegates in a binding Libertarian convention to five-hundred. I have been I contact with the national party chairman and his legal team and they feel there is a strong case to cut down the county level requirements as unconstitutional per Ogilvy vs Moore. Our state chairman and committee is also considering legal options if this is signed into law.

The impact of this law would be devastating to potential candidacies above state legislature level races, it would be unlikely to see federal candidacies filled as well as state level races such as State Auditor, Treasurer and so on. It would even threaten our ability to field a gubernatorial candidate due to these onerous thresholds, which is the race that our major party status and ballot access depends on. This is a concerted effort by the GOP to destroy our ability to run candidates and grow as a party. The fewer candidates we run, the less interest is generated in our party and our growth reverses.

Until this is signed by the governor, it is not law. She is expected to sign it, but has not yet put pen to paper. I urge you to email or call Governor Reynolds and urge her to vote NO to Senate File 413

Contact link:

In my next post, I will discuss a possible direction the Libertarians should consider taking if this bill is indeed signed. Thank you,

Joseph Howe

Polk County Libertarians Co-Chair

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