Secondly, I very rarely every come out and push for money, but it looks like the Libertarian Party is going to have some difficulty in getting on the ballot for all 50 states especially here in Oklahoma. So I am reposting a plea from the party for funds to help run signature campaigns:

Dear Libertarian,

“Will the LP be on all 50 state ballots again in 2004?”

Your response to this e-mail will help answer that question for the Libertarian Party. So please — read it through, and carefully consider the LP’s ballot access strategy.

There is a lot of good news in this E-mail, but not a lot of hype. It’s not filled with the words Emergency! and Crisis! in big letters. This is a serious appeal to serious Libertarians who believe in getting our candidates on the ballot.

There are many wonderful organizations working for freedom in today’s world. The Cato Institute, the Advocates for Self-Government, the Reason Foundation, and many more are tirelessly working to advance the Libertarian ideals of individual liberty and personal responsibility. Many of these organizations have budgets and staffs that are much larger than the LP’s.

But none has more influence on public policy than the Libertarian Party!

As the media puts it:
“The Libertarian Party has influence in today’s politics dramatically disproportionate to the number of votes its candidates receive…”
– – Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune

“Libertarians have quietly become America’s best organized and most significant third party.”
– – Bob Ewegen, The Denver Post

“Although Libertarians are small in number, they are winning local seats and influencing the national agenda — including the debates on Social Security and IRS reform.”
– – Donald Lambro, Insight Magazine

“Libertarians are more and more driving the political debate in this country.”
– – Larry Hicks, The York (PA) Dispatch

“The Libertarian Party today wields influence far beyond its ranks…”
– – Congressional Quarterly’s Researcher.

How does the LP exert influence far beyond the size of our money and manpower? It’s simple: leverage. The political leverage that we get from having hundreds and thousands of candidates. Virtually everyone who hears the word Libertarian for the first time hears it from a Libertarian Party candidate.

As Sharon Harris of the Advocates for Self-Government said:”The LP pulled the word ‘libertarian’ into the public vocabulary — and in doing so has changed the face of American politics … LP candidates have taken libertarian ideas to many millions. The LP has elected hundreds of candidates to office.”

The leverage of running 1,640 candidates in 2002 supercharged our media coverage! In the first six months of 2002, our media clipping service reported that the word “Libertarian” appeared in an average of about 130 news articles per month that reached 17 million individual readers.But in October, the height of campaign season for our army of candidates, the number increased six-fold to 851 articles, reaching a phenomenal 151,708,688 readers!

And that does not even include the hundreds more articles in weekly papers, the thousands of interviews and debates, and the hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature that our candidates use to bring more voters to the libertarian fold.

Without ballot access, there would be no partisan Libertarian officeholders.

Without ballot access, there would be no partisan Libertarians on the ballot at all — which is just what the Democrats and Republicans want. “Republicans are running scared,” said the Clovis (NM) News Journal.

“How could you have targeted a disabled war veteran like Senator Max Cleland?” asked a distressed reporter from the Columbus (GA) Ledger Inquirer, upset at the LP’s hand in defeating the Democratic drug warrior.

“Republicans can’t ignore the Libertarians,” said the National Review Online.

“Libertarians tipped the balance in some of the nation’s excruciatingly close gubernatorial races this year,” moaned the Weekly Standard.

Ballot access is the key to the LP’s political clout. It is the lifeblood of the party and our candidates.

The LP is the undisputed leader in ballot access for third parties. In fact, with our army of candidates carrying much of the ballot access load, by working at it election cycle after election cycle, and by planning ahead:

We do our petitioning better, cheaper, and faster.

– – We have not failed on a Presidential ballot drive since 1988!

– – We are already on the ballot in 27 states in ’04. Our nearest competitors, the Greens, are only on in 20.

– – In 2000, Pat Buchanan spent over $250,000 just to get on the ballot in North Carolina — more than seven times what the LP spent for that state.

– – We have had an LP presidential candidate on all 50 state ballots for 3 election cycles in a row. No other third party in US history has even done so twice.

– – In 2000, our pre-eminent ballot status led us to become the first third party since 1920 to run candidates for the US House of Representatives in a majority of districts nationwide. Those 256 House candidates earned 1.7 million votes — the first time any party other than the Dems and Reps had exceeded 1 million votes.

– – And in 2002, we became the first third party since 1920 to run candidates for at least 10% of state legislative races. Here again, our candidates earned more than 1 million votes.

As Sharon Harris put it:
“The LP — more than any other organization — has smashed the Iron Curtain of discriminatory ballot access laws that have choked alternative politics in America for half a century.”

Our dedication to ballot access is what made those achievements possible.

Will the Libertarian Party remain the preeminent champion of ballot access and third party politics? Or will we relinquish that title to some other party — like the Greens?

Your contribution will answer that question.

Most states don’t need help in getting on the ballot. In states such asLouisiana, all the LP has to do is remain an organized party to be able to run candidates at all levels. But in Oklahoma, we must collect enough signatures to equal 5% of the previous total vote for Governor. In 2000, we had to collect more than 98,000 signatures to meet the requirement.

We do expect our state parties to do their share of their ballot drive before we step in to help. So we created the 35/35 rule. Our rule of thumb is that the state LP must be prepared to collect at least 35 volunteer signatures and/or dollars per party member. The Oklahoma LP only has about 150 members. To put themselves on the ballot without outside help, every single member of the Oklahoma LP would have to collect more than 650 signatures — a nearly impossible requirement.

Here are the states that need help in 2003.

Ohio needs 32,290 valid signatures by December 31.
Oklahoma needs 50,179 valid sigs.
Alabama must have 40,938.
West Virginia calls for 12,963.
Arkansas needs 10,000 signatures to put partisan LP candidates on the ballot.

To make up for the inevitable invalid signatures from people who turn out to not be legally registered, we’ll have to collect about a quarter of a million “raw” signatures to meet these requirements.

The year before the presidential race is the most important in the 4-year ballot access cycle. 2003 is the year that we must get most of our biggest drives out of the way — drives that are simply way too big for the state parties to handle on their own.

We must start our largest drive, Oklahoma, immediately to finish it before winter weather sets in. Delaying this drive so that it is completed in 2004 will lead to BIG increases in costs.

The bottom line: we must raise $70,000 immediately to st
art Oklahoma and finish Ohio quickly. To complete the rest of these 6 crucial drives before winter weather sets in, we’ll need to raise an additional $160,000 this year. We may also have to assist drives in South Dakota, North Dakota, and other states as well.

Why is it so important to get these drives started now, and completed this year?

Three reasons: money, money, and money.

1. We can get the drives done cheaper this year, because it is the “off season” for petitioners.

A dollar spent on ballot access this year can buy up to two signatures.

A dollar spent on ballot access next year, when competition really heats up for the limited number of professional petitioners available, may only buy a half of a signature — or less.

There’s better cost control on a drive when it’s done early. You can keep better track of validity, and use just the best, most cost-effective petitioners. If you are up against the deadline, it is very easy to collect too many signatures at the very end of the drive and end up buying thousands of signatures you don’t need.

The cost difference in doing a drive early and right, versus scrambling to meet a looming deadline, can be enormous. With plenty of lead-time, we completed the 2000 drives in Alabama and Ohio for 67 cents per signature. In Arizona, doing the drive at the last minute cost us $2.87 per sig — more than 4 times more.

2. By starting early, we can avoid the problem that nearly cost us 50-state ballot status in 2000 — the Oklahoma summer snowball.

We started the 2000 Oklahoma drive in mid-1999, but we didn’t have the cash to finish the job that year.

BIG MISTAKE!

By the time we had raised the funds to continue, the Natural Law, Green, and Reform Parties were all petitioning as well — upping the competition and costs for petitioners and locations.

As the drive dragged on into late spring of 2000, we even had to compete with ourselves for petitioners. To finish Oklahoma before its deadline, we had to rob petitioners from the Illinois drive and the other states we could not legally start until 2000.

Having robbed Illinois’ petitioners to get Oklahoma done in time created a snowball effect. We barely finished Illinois right at its deadline as well, upping the cost yet again. The snowball rolling through Illinois kept us from moving our petitioners into the next states on schedule, putting us behind everywhere.

This “Oklahoma summer snowball” meant we were playing catch-up for the rest of the summer, shoving us against an avalanche of deadlines and jacking up the cost of every single drive.

With enough early funding Oklahoma could have been done for 70 cents or so per signature. Instead, we spent $1.33 per signature — twice as much — for a total of $130,953.37.

But at least we made it: the Natural Law Party spent more than $100,000 in Oklahoma, and failed to make the ballot. The Greens also failed. Our other 2000 drives also cost many tens of thousands more than they should have — all because of the Oklahoma summer snowball.

3. By getting these very difficult drives out of the way now, we’ll have more money available for advertising next year.

In 2000, ballot access consumed most of our funds from January through August — more than half a million dollars in all.

By the time we had put Libertarian candidates on all 50 ballots, we had less than a quarter million dollars left for advertising for the rest of the campaign season.

The vote totals for all of our army of Libertarian candidates suffered for it.

We can do better than that for 2004. By getting all of the difficult drives out of the way this year, we can save many tens of thousands of dollars, and spend our money next year supporting our candidates with advertising.

Plus, as any LP state chair will tell you, it is much easier to recruit candidates once ballot access is assured. By getting ballot access out of the way early, we’ll have more time to recruit more candidates — to further leverage our dollars and earn even more free media next year.

Your donation will make our decision.

Will we continue to be the absolute champions of ballot access and third party politics?

Or will we take a step back and let some other party like theGreens take our place?

50-state status hangs in the balance.

It’s in your hands right now.

I know the Democrats and Republicans would like to see us fail. So would the Greens.

They’d like a free ride without Libertarian challengers.

Do you want to see another army of Libertarian candidates on the ballot in all 50 states for 2004? I hope so, because it’s what real political parties do. I’m personally committed to 50-state status for the Libertarian Party in 2004. I hope you’ll demonstrate your commitment to our candidates with a generous gift to our ballot access fund.

To avoid the mistakes of 2000, we must raise $70,000 to start Oklahoma immediately, and put Maryland, Ohio, and Alabama on the road to completion. We need an additional $160,000 to accomplish all of our 2003 ballot access goals.

Can you be a petitioning patriot, and make a contribution of $1,776?

A donation of $1,000 will make you a true ballot access hero, as well as make you a Life Member of the Libertarian Party.

$500 will buy as many as 1,000 signatures.

$100 will make you a minuteman on the front lines for freedom.

Or perhaps a monthly pledge of $10, $20, $50, or $100 would better suit your budget.

Your contribution, in any amount, will make a difference. When you help, we get the job done. Can we count on you?

Please visit http://www.lp.org/contribute?prog=ballotaccess2003&fund=2003-0050 and make your best contribution right now.

On behalf of our army of Libertarian candidates, thank you.

Yours for freedom,

Ron Crickenberger
Political Director
Libertarian Party National Headquarters

PS: Better – Cheaper – Faster. That’s how we get the ballot access job done when you give us the resources.

We haven’t failed on a presidential ballot drive since 1988. But we have spent way too much on way too many drives by not having the resources to get them done early.

Let’s not make the mistakes of the past again. Instead, let’s make 2003 a year of ballot access success, and 2004 the year we bring the Libertarian message to America with more advertising and candidates than ever before.

When it comes to ballot access:

Success this year means success next year.
Success now means much lower costs.
Success now means more advertising next year.
Success now means more candidates next year.
Success now means more media next year.

Doesn’t everyone in the country deserve the chance to vote for the freedom and prosperity that the Libertarian Party represents?

Don’t we have a duty to bring them that choice?

Will you give your best possible donation for ballot access today at http://www.lp.org/contribute?prog=ballotaccess2003&fund=2003-0050?
Thank you.

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The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/
2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 vo
ice: 202-333-0008
Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072
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