Free the Vote North Carolina
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (May 2011)|
|Founded||June 14, 2008|
|Founder||Jordon M. Greene|
|Type||Issue Advocacy PAC|
|Focus||Ballot access and Candidate Nomination Reform|
|Area served||North Carolina|
|Slogan||"Your Choice – Your Freedom – Their Competition"
"Let's Free the Vote NC"
Free the Vote North Carolina (founded in June 2008) is a North Carolina-focused Political Action Committee with the primary goal of lobbying for ballot access reform to reduce the burden on political third parties and unaffiliated candidates. The group seeks to educate North Carolinians about ballot access in their state in order to better equip voters with the knowledge on where candidates stand on voting rights. Free the Vote NC also advocates reforming the State's candidate nomination system and Primary Elections.
Free the Vote North Carolina was originally founded as the North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections, or NCFPE, in June 2008 by Jordon M. Greene, who at the time was a sophomore Political Science major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In 2009, the North Carolinians for Free and Proper Election introduced its first legislative project in ballot access law with its Electoral Freedom Act of 2009. The bill was introduced by North Carolina State Senator Jim Jacumin on March 19, 2009 as Senate Bill 731. Soon after, North Carolina State Senator Andrew C. Brock signed on as a Co-Sponsor of the bill.
On March 24, 2009, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary I, where it was never brought back up and died in committee when it missed the legislative cross-over deadline for non-appropriation/budget bills. The goal of the Electoral Freedom Act of 2009 was to amend NC Election Law in NCGS Chapter 163 to reduce the number of signatures needed for political third parties and unaffiliated candidates to obtain access to the NC election ballot.
On February 3, 2011, Free the Vote North Carolina's 2011 ballot access reform bill proposal was introduced by State Representatives Stephen LaRoque, Glen Bradley, Paul Luebke and Jean Farmer-Butterfield in the form of House Bill 32 – the Electoral Freedom Act of 2011. The goal of this bill is similar to the bill proposed in 2009 while additionally eliminating the current requirement for write-in candidates to obtain signatures to have votes cast for them counted.
Free the Vote NC (as the North Carolinians for Free & Proper Elections), along with other organizations, submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the Libertarian Party of NC and NC Green Party's case against the State of North Carolina and appealing the decision that the North Carolina Court of Appeals made in favor of the State on October 20, 2009. On March 11, 2011, the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a 5–1 decision, ruled in favor of the State, upholding North Carolina's ballot access rules.
Free the Vote North Carolina is supporting Stephen LaRoque in a case in Kinston, NC, where the US Department of Justice used Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to deny a voter approved referendum to change all local elections into non-partisan races. The lawsuit (Stephen LaRoque, et al. v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., et al.) is challenging the ability of the federal government to clear or approve state or locally passed election laws. In December, 2010, a US court dismissed the case stating that the citizens of Kinston, NC do not have standing.
Free the Vote North Carolina supports, and was formed as a response to, the plaintiffs in Bryan E. Greene, et al. v. Gary O. Bartlett, et al. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the NCGS 163-122(a)(2) requirement that unaffiliated candidates for US Congress and other district offices obtain signatures from 4% of the total number of registered voters in their district as of January 1 of the election year. Jordon M. Greene is a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with the primary plaintiff, Bryan E. Greene, who is Jordon's father. In August 2010, a US District Court upheld the law being challenged, siding with the state. Bryan Greene filed an appeal to the court's decision on November 16, 2010.
- Issues – Free the Vote North Carolina
- SB731 – NC General Assembly Bill Lookup
- Chapter 163 – NC General Statutes.
- "Bill Would Increase Ballot Access". Raleigh News & Observer. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Electoral Freedom Act (House Bill 32) – NC General Assembly Bill Lookup
- Split decision keeps N.C. ballot challenge alive – First Amendment Center
- Libertarian Party of North Carolina, et al v State of North Carolina, et al NO. COA08-1413
- History and Documentation of Libertarian Party of North Carolina v State of North Carolina – LPNC Website
- Smith, Barry (13 March 2011). "High court upholds ballot access restriction". Gaston Gazette. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Ballot Access Laws Undermine the Right to Vote – John Locke Foundation's "Rights & Regulation Update"
- Clark, Doug. "Court protects voters from the confusion of too many choices". Off the Record. Greensboro News & Record. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Court Explains why Kinston Voters Don’t Have Standing to Challenge Nullification of Initiative Making City Elections Non-Partisan – Ballot Access News
- U.S. District Court in North Carolina Upholds 4% Petition Requirement for Independent Candidates for U.S. House – Ballot Access News
- Brief Filed in 4th Circuit in North Carolina Independent Candidate Ballot Access Case – Ballot Access News