Ballot Access: Our Greatest Weapon Is Our Refusal

In the fall of 2018, there were 28 third-party and independent candidates on the Wisconsin ballot. This year, there will only be six. Furthermore, several of them are having their signatures challenged, which could lower that number even more so. 

 Why don’t we have more choices?  

Between the COVID-19 crisis and recent civil unrest, it has been virtually impossible for candidates who aren’t establishment-backed to gather signatures. The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin has petitioned the state several times in recent months, letting it be known that unless ballot requirements were appropriately lessened, our voices would be silenced. These petitions fell on deaf ears.  I personally spent several days attempting to call members of the assembly urging to act on this, and instead I was patronized and ignored. Every call we made to your assembly representatives was rebuffed. Democrats claimed that the Republicans refused to even consider it. Both Republicans and Democrats told us to stop whining and just follow the rules—the rules established by the duopoly, not to serve you, but to preserve the duopoly. 

The battle for ballot access is playing out similarly across the United States, and it is a travesty! Independent and third-party voters deserve to have our voices heard. Let the Republicans and Democrats know we are tired of them colluding to silence our voices.  

 I urge every disenfranchised, underrepresented Wisconsin voter to write-in “NOTA” (none of the above) for every race where you are forced to choose between the antiquated and corrupt old parties. I further urge each of you to call your representatives and admonish them for their complicity in voter suppression.  If we do nothing and continue as normal, we too are complicit in the silencing of thousands of voices aching to be heard. 

Our greatest weapon is our refusal to bow to the status quo. Our demands to them are simple: include us, or lose us.  Join me, the Libertarian Party of  Wisconsin, and all other marginalized political voices, in a renouncement of  taking part in the rigged game they have set up for us. 

In Liberty,

Matthew Bughman

State Chair

Libertarian Party of Wisconsin

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