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Christopher Bjorke, Forum News Service, Published August 30 2013

Libertarians make 2014 ballot in North Dakota

GRAND FORKS – The Libertarian Party in North Dakota has delivered enough signatures to the state to have its candidates appear on 2014 ballots.

Party Chairman Roland Riemers of Grand Forks said the party was pushing to get earlier ballot approvals and organize candidates so it can skip the petition process in the future.

The party is required to collect 7,000 signatures to appear on primary and general election ballots because it did not meet a vote threshold in the last election to automatically appear.

Riemers said the party usually files petitions closer to the election, but it is completing the requirement a year early.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the game,” he said.

By organizing earlier, the Libertarians hope they can spend more effort campaigning for their candidates and win enough votes to forgo the petition process.

Political parties in North Dakota are required to receive at least 5 percent of the votes cast for president or governor to be automatically placed on the ballot in the following election. In years when those offices are not on the ballot, parties must win 5 percent of the votes for attorney general or secretary of state.

The Libertarian Party won 1.62 percent of votes cast for president in North Dakota in 2012, according to Lee Ann Oliver, an election specialist in the secretary of state’s office.

Riemers was the party’s candidate for governor, but he did not appear on the ballot after the state ruled his running mate filed incomplete paperwork.

He said the party has candidates for U.S. representative, state tax commissioner and secretary of state, and it is searching for an attorney general candidate.

“If we can find a decent lawyer to run for that, getting 5 percent can easily be achievable,” he said.