Regarding the Dec. 22 news article “53 legislators lacking opponents”: North Carolina will continue its tradition of unopposed elections in 2016. So in November nearly half of North Carolina voters will have no choice about who represents them in Raleigh.
While it’s true gerrymandering is a cause, there’s another more significant reason – highly restrictive ballot access laws. It’s very difficult for a party, other than the Democrats or Republicans, to get on the ballot. It’s nearly impossible for independent candidates to do so.
These high barriers to ballot access thus effectively disenfranchise nearly a third of North Carolina voters, the unaffiliated, the fastest growing voter block. Most voters don’t realize how the establishment parties manipulate the system through gerrymandering and restrictive ballot access.
To qualify for the ballot, a “new” party must collect in excess of 90,000 signatures. To run for statewide office without a party label, they must hurdle the same barrier. Anyone who wants to challenge an unopposed incumbent in a legislative district or local office needs to collect from 2,000 to 20,000 signatures from registered voters.
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It’s not gerrymandering, voter IDs or early voting limitations that disenfranchise North Carolina voters. It’s our ballot access lockout.
Vice chair, Libertarian Party of North Carolina