Unequal Access to the Ballot: South Carolina Denies the Libertarian Party a June Primary


In South Carolina all political parties are equal, but some are just more equal than others.

South Carolina law requires the state to pay for open primaries using taxpayer funds. The state finances both the Democrat and Republican Party’s primaries, but last month, members of the South Carolina Libertarian Party found out that they were not as “equal” as the two major parties.

One of the components of South Carolina’s new election law, the Equal Access to the Ballot Act S.2, requires parties that want to nominate their candidates by convention to put the question on the June ballot, but the state is denying the Libertarian Party access to a primary in which to get the vote they need to nominate by convention.


SC Election Commission on S.2: ¬†“Just ignore it, because we can’t afford it!”

Michael Carmany, chairman of South Carolina Libertarian Party, was shocked to receive a letter from the South Carolina State Election Commission (SCSEC) denying his request for a June primary.


The SCSEC told Carmany:


“The South Carolina State Election Commission does not have the time required to update the voter registration and election management system or the considerable financial resources to make the changes necessary to accommodate your request for 2014.”

The Libertarian Party was trying to comply with the new law, but the state told them to ignore the law, because the state claims they cannot financially afford to comply with the new law. Gov. Nikki Haley signed S.2 into law last June.



The new law, Section 71130, requires political parties who want to nominate their candidates by convention to essentially get permission from opposing political parties by putting a question on the June primary ballot.


So how can the Libertarian Party put this question on the primary ballot if they are denied a primary?


The Republican Party, may challenge the legitimacy of the Libertarian candidate on the ballot in the general election in November by saying the Libertarian Party didn’t comply with the new state law to nominate by convention.


The SCSEC is in direct violation of the law, but who will enforce it? The Libertarian Party can sue the SCSEC, but then they will have to face judges who have been voted by a Republican-controlled legislative branch.


SC Libertarian Party Chairman Michael Carmany told Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook that they will hold a nominating convention, and if they are challenged legally, they will at least have a paper trail that shows they attempted to follow the new law.

“I have enough of a paper trail with complaints to the attorney general and complaints to the election commission that if anyone challenges us, it’s going to be thrown out, because we have made every attempt possible to hold a primary this year,” said Carmany.

“They are breaking the law. Our tax money is being used to spend on the Republicans and Democrats, but they don’t want to spend it on any other parties.”


South Carolina Denies Libertarian Party a June Primary