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Libertarians Kickoff Petition Drive to Restore Ballot Status

5/7/2001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tim O'Brien
(248) 591-3733
(313) 562-5778

HAZEL PARK. "This is the single, most important thing we will do this year," said Libertarian Party of Michigan Executive Committee member Nancy O'Brien in announcing the official start of the party's petition drive to restore its ballot status.

As chair of the party's Ballot Access Restoration Committee she promised the party faithful at the LPM's annual convention last weekend that she and her committee would do whatever is necessary to collect the 30,272 petition signatures needed because, she stated, "Failure is not an option."

"It's a pretty sad commentary on Michigan election law," added newly elected party chair Michael Corliss, "that after having 115 candidates get a total of more than 1.5 million votes in the last election, we should lose our ballot status anyway and have to petition to get back on."

"It's a pretty sad commentary on Michigan election law," added newly elected party chair Michael Corliss, "that after having 115 candidates get a total of more than 1.5 million votes in the last election, we should lose our ballot status anyway and have to petition to get back on."

Corliss was referring to Michigan's unique 'Top-of-Ticket' rule that puts the fate of an entire political party on the one race that is highest up on the ballot.

The LP actually fielded a slate of candidates larger than all the other so-called 'third' parties combined. And those candidates garnered many times the vote total of all the other 'third' parties -- added together. But the LP's presidential candidate, Harry Browne, fell victim to 'Wasted Vote' syndrome in the historically tight race between Republican Bush and Democrat Gore. And since Michigan law puts all of the party's ballot status eggs in that one basket, the LP is off while the Green and Reform parties -- far weaker overall -- maintained their ballot positions.

The unfairness of the situation is so self-evident that state representative Leon Drolet (R-33) has taken up the cause of reforming the law and plans to introduce legislation to eliminate the "Principal Candidate" limitation so that any of a party's candidates can meet the minimum requirement to retain ballot access.

In fact Drolet was at the LP's convention in Frankenmuth and was among the very first to actually sign the petition to put the party back on the ballot.

"We are hopeful that we can get the law changed," concluded Corliss. "But in the meantime we have no choice but to go out and collect 30,272 signatures of registered voters if we are to run candidates again in 2002."

The party has 180 days to complete its task.

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