Fed Court Holds Up N.H. Ballot Petition Law

Dec 5, 2016

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 New Hampshire law that puts limits on how long third parties have to collect the necessary signatures to petition their way onto a general election ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire urged a three-judge panel in Boston to strike down the law, saying it could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.

The panel agreed Friday with a judge who found the law creates reasonable restrictions justified by the state's interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.

To get on, a third party must collect 3 percent of the total votes cast in the prior election. Libertarians sued Secretary of State William Gardner after the law changed from 21 months to seven months to collect the signatures. They couldn't start until Jan. 1 of the election year.