As of 2016’s election, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has gained full ballot access as a major party on par with the Democrats and Republicans. This is a big deal as it means we no longer have to jump through ridiculous ballot access hoops like petition gathering to get candidates on the ballot here. This has resulted in more Libertarian candidates appearing on the ballot here in Keene than Republican candidates. If the LPNH’s gubernatorial candidate, Jilletta Jarvis, can receive at least 4% of the vote this year, the party’s major ballot access status will continue for the next two years.
Sadly, the two largest mainstream media entities are working to help stop Jarvis from getting her ideas exposure in their debates they are hosting this week. WMUR-TV and the Union Leader are putting on the “Granite State Debates” and have set the rules to where only the Republican and Democrat candidates will qualify. To get in to their debate, a candidate must have received 12% in a recent poll and have raised over $25,000. Ironically, Darryl W Perry told me that both organizations have opined in favor of getting money out of politics, but when it’s a metric they can use to exclude the Libertarians, they apparently support money in politics.
The idea that such rules are in any way necessary is totally ridiculous. There are only three ballot qualified candidates for governor. It’s not like they’d need eleven podiums on the stage. They could have kept it fair and allowed in all ballot-qualified candidates, but they stacked the deck against the Libertarian campaigns. It’s pretty clear the exclusion was done on purpose, likely to appease the other two parties’ candidates, who as we saw recently may refuse to attend if the Libertarian is invited.
It wasn’t just the race for governor. Last night they held their debate for NH’s 2nd congressional district and excluded Libertarian Justin O’Donnell. In an interview with Free Keene, O’Donnell said this on the matter:
Radio and TV broadcasters are given free access to use public airwaves worth more than half a trillion dollars in exchange for a requirement that such broadcasters “serve the public interest” and provide a fair and unbalanced reporting of the news to inform the American people. By hosting a facade of a debate, and failing to include all the options who have qualified to be on the ballot, these broadcast organizations are negligent in their duty to inform the people.
Tomorrow, Libertarians will gather to protest starting at 5pm, two hours before the beginning of the gubernatorial debate at St Anselm College. They will be standing near the college’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics at 100 Saint Anslem Drive in Manchester. LP gubernatorial candidate Jilletta Jarvis will be present. Last night the turnout was approximately a dozen activists – hopefully we’ll have as much or more tomorrow night! The fake “debate” begins at 7pm Eastern. Here is a facebook event for the protest.