The Libertarian Party of Arkansas has filed suit asking for more time to nominate candidates for the 2016 election cycle, drawing a judge who earlier this year ruled against an independent candidate suing over the same issue.
Third parties must nominate candidates for the 2016 general election by Nov. 9, which is the end of the filing period for Republican and Democratic candidates.
The deadline is a result of a law passed this year in order to make it possible for Arkansas’ primaries to be on March 1, the so-called “SEC primary” involving other Southern states.
A 2013 law moved the deadline for third party and independent candidates from May to February in typical years.
In a press release, party Chair Michael Pakko said, “The two other political parties are making us select our final candidates just when their selection process is just getting underway – all so they can have their early primary."
Attorney James Linger will represent the party in the case in U.S. District Court, where Judge James Moody will preside. Earlier this year, Linger represented Mark Moore, an independent who sued over the same state law’s treatment of independent candidates, in a case before Moody.
Moody ruled then that the law is constitutional because the state has a compelling interest in the earlier date in order to have time to process signatures, respond to litigation, and comply with federal law.
Libertarians finished their ballot access drive in June by gathering the required signatures of 10,000 registered voters. To maintain their status, the Libertarian candidate for president must receive 3% of the popular vote in the 2016 general election.
The party will nominate its candidates at a convention Oct. 24 at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock.