Jake Porter at a gubernatorial forum at Des Moines University in 2018.

The Libertarian Party of Iowa (LPIA) alongside co-plaintiff, Jake Porter, has filed suit against Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate in federal court to defend independent and third-party ballot access rights.

The complaint names Pate as the defendant in the lawsuit in his official capacity as the state commissioner of elections.

Porter was the Libertarian Party’s nominee in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

They note that the 2019 legislative session saw multiple bills that impacted the ability of independent and third-party candidate to gain ballot access by increasing signature requirements, reducing candidate filing periods and increasing costs to purchase public voter data.

They allege that the Iowa Legislature attempted to deprive Iowa voters of choice at the ballot box and to legally enshrine two party rule.

The complaint cites HF 692 that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds as “the most egregious” of the measures considered last session. The law requires third-party and independent candidates to meet major party primary election filing deadlines, elections those candidates cannot participate in.

The Libertarian Party of Iowa and Porter claim that their 1st and 14th Amendment rights by adding unnecessary hurdles to their right to petition the government by filing candidates.

In 2018, the Libertarian Party had a record number of votes cast for Libertarian candidates and ran a record number of candidates. Nearly a dozen Libertarians are currently elected to county and city non-partisan offices, and they are focused on electing more candidates to local office in 2020.

The Libertarian Party of Iowa achieved major party status in 2016 after meeting the threshold required by earning two percent of the state’s vote count in presidential election allowing their candidates ballot access through primaries. They failed to retain ballot access by falling short of the required two percent in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Read the complaint below:

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