The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court ruling in favor of the Libertarian Party over ballot access rules in Arkansas.

The 2019 legislature passed a law to make it harder for third parties to qualify for a general position on the ballot, raising a 10,000-signature petition requirement to 3 percent of the vote in the governor’s election, or more than 26,000. It also narrowed the window to obtain signatures and moved up the deadline to 425 days before an election.


Judge Kristine Baker issued a preliminary order blocking the state from enforcing the new signature requirement but left the deadline in place. The Libertarian Party has since fielded several candidates for the November general election.

Secretary of State John Thurston appealed. The 8th Circuit ruled today that the Libertarian Party was likely to prevail on the merits of its claim that the new rules were unconstitutional. The new rules weren’t “narrowly tailored” to regulate election integrity and were burdensome.


Here’s the opinion.