America’s two-party system has kept itself in power by enacting a byzantine web of election laws and regulations at the state level that are designed to prevent ballot access for third-party candidates and their supporters, effectively preventing them from ever having their voices become a part of the larger national debate. Whether it’s laws controlling who can circulate nominating petitions in favor of a candidate, laws shortening the time available for third parties to rally the requisite number of supporters required to nominate a candidate, or even laws allowing election officials to throw out nominating petitions because the signatures were not in black ink—those in power will always find new and creative ways to keep dissident voices off the ballot.
We believe that far too often Americans are left in the uncomfortable position of settling – choosing from a ballot with one or two candidates that have been so distilled as to make either indistinguishable from the other. For some, they believe this system is so deeply entrenched that the only thing they can do is vote for the candidate they dislike the least and keep their fingers crossed that said candidate doesn’t screw things up too bad. At Barnes Law, we believe there’s a better way: We know that third parties have been a driving force for good in American politics since the founding of the Republic. That is why we’ve challenged restrictive election ballot access laws on behalf of third parties in Arizona, Alaska, California, and Hawaii, taking the battle through the appellate courts and up to the Supreme Court when necessary.