Like a master chess player, the South Carolina Libertarian Party out maneuvered the Republican-controlled legislature and the state Supreme Court, forcing them to not only give the libertarians ballot access but to ensure that all third parties have ballot access as well.
According to the new South Carolina election law, Act 61, political parties must get permission from other parties in order to nominate their candidates by convention. The problem was the S.C. Elections Commission denied the Libertarian Party a primary because “they couldn’t afford it.” As reported by Joshua Cook, third parties like the Libertarian Party were denied access to a primary, forcing the party to sue and take the case to the state Supreme Court.
Libertarian Jeremy Walters, who is running for a state house seat, wanted to make sure that he would not be thrown off the ballot because on this new law requirement.
In 2012, over 200 candidates were thrown off the ballot for not filing correctly.
Jeremy Walters explained to Cook why he challenged the law:
“I’m about to put my name on the ballot and go for a rematch, but I know I’m going into this breaking the law, and there is nothing I can do about this, because the election commission denied me a primary,” he explained. “So where does that leave me when I win on November 4, 2014? It leaves me with the Republican Party filing a lawsuit against me personally for not following the new election law.”
Walters lost by only 500 votes in 2012. He’s more than ready for a rematch, and he went all the way to the state Supreme Court to make sure there won’t be any post-election funny business.
“We asked the court to please give us a primary so we can abide by the law.” Walters said that you’ll never believe how the Supreme Court ruled.
“The ruling ended up being that the Libertarian Party can nominate by convention, because that’s what they’ve always done,” he said.
“If you look back and think about this for one second, you’ll understand that the Supreme Court of the state of South Carolina told the Libertarian Party and all third parties that it’s OK to go ahead and break the law,” he added.
Justice Jean Toal called the Libertarian’s lawsuit “the South Carolina thorn in their side of 2014.”
He called the state Supreme Court ruling his “Get Out Of Jail Free” card for when the republicans challenge the election outcome.
Walters did more than just secure his own fate, but he also helped all other South Carolina third parties to have equal ballot access.
“It wasn’t about having a primary. It was about telling the state of South Carolina that you don’t have any right to tell me whether I can have a convention or a primary,” he concluded.