It was a challenge but Libertarians have a candidate for Governor on the ballot. After a lengthy and complex appeal process, Libertarian Elijah Gizzarelli has qualified for the ballot in the general election in November.
The most import thing to note here is that in order for the Libertarian Party of RI to qualify for major party status they need to get 5% in this election. This is the threshold needed in either a gubernatorial or presidential election. Along with major party status come the ability for the party to better support their candidate but maybe even more importantly this provides the ability for Rhode Island voters to officially register as Libertarians.
So the old and tired “wasted vote” rhetoric third party candidates and their supporters so often proclaim does not apply here. For starters your vote is never wasted if you are casting it for a candidate you fully support. But even more so in this election your vote counts towards that critical 5% threshold. So for those that want to complain about spoilers, this is the rule that has been put in place by your two party system to keep out competition. They are the ones that established the requirement.
Here is the official press release from the LPRI:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: After Board of Elections Challenge, the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island’s Endorsed Candidate for Governor Receives Ballot Placement.
Libertarian candidate for governor Elijah Gizzarelli will appear on the general election ballot this November.
After the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office determined Gizzarelli did not collect enough verified signatures to qualify for ballot placement, Libertarian Party of Rhode Island (LPRI) chair William Hunt, acting in his private capacity, brought a successful challenge to the decision before the Board of Elections. The board found enough valid signatures had been improperly disqualified to qualify Gizzarelli for ballot placement.
“The private corporations, known as the Democrat and Republican parties, have a vested interest in keeping third parties off the ballot. Their influence in the General Assembly has helped to concoct a process to discourage efforts to challenge the status quo.” said Hunt of the challenge. “Undeterred, we fought to get Elijah on the ballot and proved our signatures to be sufficient and valid. Now comes the hard work of mobilizing the Libertarian voters in RI and ensuring they vote in November.”
LPRI’s Executive Committee voted earlier this year to endorse Gizzarelli, a veteran and West Warwick native, in his bid for governor.
Gizzarelli had the following to say about the state’s improper disqualification of ballot signatures he and volunteers collected.
“We were forced to collect 1,000 signatures in little over a week during what Governor McKee continues to insist is a public health state of emergency, just so the third largest party in the United States could have a candidate on the ballot. We turned in close to 1,300 signatures and were still denied saying not enough of them were valid.”
“So we fought. We wasted tons of man hours and party resources proving our case. In the end, it was undeniable that we met the arbitrary and overly burdensome standards. We won the appeal, but we lost a month of time and energy that could have been used campaigning. This is exactly the type of thing the old parties do in order to stifle competition and prevent voters from having any real choice of any consequence in elections.” Gizzarelli continued. “This must change and I ask all Rhode Islanders to stand with us against this corrupt two party system.”lpri.us