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Libertarians fail to reach 20% threshold for ballot access

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s electorate delivered a significant blow to Libertarians, who sought to present an alternative to the state’s two major political parties.

In order to gain statewide ballot access for the next election, a third party must check multiple boxes during the previous election cycle. As outlined by state law, one prerequisite for minor political parties to gain automatic ballot access during the next election is for at least one candidate to earn 20% of the vote in a statewide election.

Libertarians attempted to mount an ambitious campaign to deliver their message to Alabamians of all political orientations. While demonstrating the ability to qualify candidates for nearly every statewide constitutional office, Libertarians failed to reach their ultimate goal.

Each statewide GOP candidate not only won their respective races, but successfully prevented their Libertarian challengers from obtaining the 20% threshold.

The upstart third party’s failure perhaps comes as no surprise given that their candidates hold differing views on a number of issues, presenting the optics of having no uniformity or consistency in their platform.

Additionally, longstanding Libertarian ideology largely conflicts with the prevailing political views of Alabama’s conservative-majority electorate.

Many Libertarians generally subscribe to the belief that government should play no role in taking a proactive approach to supporting economic growth efforts. For the most part, the party believes in free market purism, which would eliminate government’s ability to provide economic incentives for prospective industry.

Regarding the issue of drug decriminalization and so-called criminal justice reform, Libertarians are oftentimes to the political left of the Democratic Party. Beyond the proposed legalization of marijuana, the party typically believes individuals should be unencumbered in their ability to use the most hardcore of drugs.

As it relates to immigration, the national party’s website states, “A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas.” Illegal immigrants, according to the party, should not be classified as violators of federal law.

Further, the national Libertarian Party’s platform calls for the decriminalization of prostitution and the elimination of the death penalty, which conflicts with the views held by a vast majority of Alabamians.

The party would also seemingly hold difficulty in messaging to senior citizens, as Libertarians call for Social Security to be phased out.

The Alabama Libertarian Party will have to wait another two years before mounting another effort to gain statewide ballot access.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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