On November 3, U.S. District Court Judge Cindy Jorgenson held an oral argument in Arizona Libertarian Party v Bennett, 4:11cv856, in Tucson. The issue is the constitutionality of the Arizona voter registration form, which lists checkboxes for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and then a blank line for anyone who wants to register into any other party or to register as an independent. The plaintiffs are the Libertarian Party and the Green Party.
The Judge seemed interested in the case, and had even researched the case law herself, bringing up several cases not mentioned in the briefs in which courts ruled that voters in certain unqualified parties have the right to register into those parties. That is not quite the same issue. Arizona is the only state that has ever prepared voter registration forms that list some parties that always nominate by primary, yet the same form does not mention all the parties that always nominate by primary. The state argued that listing just the Democratic and Republican Parties is a trivial burden for the plaintiff parties. However, parties in Arizona go off the ballot (after two elections) if they neither polled 5% of the vote for the office at the top of the ballot, or if they don’t have registration of at least two-thirds of 1%. The Green Party in particular needs to triple its registration by early 2015 (or else poll 5% for Governor in 2014) or it will go off the ballot. Having the Green Party listed on the voter registration form is extremely important to that party. The Libertarian Party remains on the ballot because it keeps its registration above two-thirds of 1%, but it is always a struggle.