Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) has introduced two bills to improve ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates. SB 15 would reduce petitions for a previously unqualified party from 3% of the last gubernatorial vote to 5,000 signatures, for statewide status. A party that wished to qualify in only part of the state would need a petition of 1.5% of the last gubernatorial vote in that particular district. SB 15 also reduces the number of signatures for non-presidential independent candidates from 3% to 1.5% (the independent presidential petition is already 5,000 signatures, and the bill would not change that).The Libertarian Party has provided me with the following information:
SB 55 would eliminate all mandatory ballot access petitions, if the previously unqualified party or independent candidate paid a filing fee. The fee would be 2% of the office’s annual salary. The fee for presidential candidates would be capped at $5,000. Thanks to Joshua Cassity for this news.
Title 17 of the Alabama Constitution is the legal tome that deals with election law. Qualification for the ballot are different for independents, major and minor parties and what dates are involved. A major party (Dems and Repubs) need 500 signatures by March, while minor parties need about 55,000 (3%). An Independent running for president needs 5000 by the end of August. The deadline for statewide office was moved from July, then six weeks earlier to June, then to March this year. The lawsuit says the March deadline is unconstitutionally early, the Supreme Court decided so in 1980 in Anderson v Celebrezze.