224 state-level political parties are qualified to appear on ballots in 2019

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, September 24, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 224 state-level political parties are qualified to appear on ballots in 2019
  2. El Paso, Texas, to hold special council election after Facebook post triggers resign-to-run law
  3. Half of Brew readers are seeing active election campaigning in their area

224 state-level political parties are qualified to appear on ballots in 2019

We’ve been tracking the number of official, state-level qualified political parties since 2013. We are excited to bring our most recent update, just wrapped up last week. Our review of the 50 states and Washington D.C. this year shows 224 ballot-qualified, state-level political parties. 

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are recognized in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These two parties account for 102 of the 224 total state-level parties. Three additional parties are recognized in more than 10 states—the Libertarian Party (37 states), the Green Party (26 states), and the Constitution Party (14 states). Aside from the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution parties, we tallied at least 27 other distinct ballot-qualified parties that have achieved ballot status in at least one state. Mississippi is home to 13 ballot-qualified parties, more than any other state. Meanwhile, 11 states recognize only the Democratic and Republican parties. 

The number of ballot-qualified, state-level political parties in 2019 is the second-highest since 2013, when Ballotpedia first began tracking this information. The 2018 total—229 parties—ranks first. Here are the number of ballot-qualified, state-level political parties each year since 2013: 

• 2013: 198
• 2014: 220
• 2015: 221
• 2016: 214
• 2017: 215
• 2018: 229 

In order for a party to have its candidates appear on the ballot, it must meet certain requirements that vary from state to state. In some states, a party may have to file a petition. In Montana, for instance, a party must collect signatures equal to 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last election, or 5,000, whichever is less. In other states, a party’s candidate must receive a certain percentage of the vote in previous elections in order for the party to be granted ballot status. This is the case in Indiana, which defines a party as any group whose candidate for secretary of state received at least 2 percent of all votes cast for that office in the last election. 



El Paso, Texas, to hold special council election after Facebook post triggers resign-to-run law 

Five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas—require officeholders to resign from their current position when they become a candidate for a different office. Depending on the state, such laws—known as resign-to-run laws—can be triggered when a candidate files paperwork to run for office or when he or she declares their intention to run. 

In El Paso, Texas, city council member Cassandra Hernandez-Brown was forced to vacate her seat after a post was made on her public Facebook page August 19 that read, “Cassandra Hernandez for mayor of El Paso.” The post was later deleted. Hernandez-Brown said one of her volunteers uploaded the phrase and that she did not authorize it. The city council voted 4-3 August 26 that the Facebook post was a declaration of her candidacy for mayor and called for a special election for her seat November 5. 

During the council meeting when the vote to call the special election was taken, Hernandez-Brown’s attorney argued that she should not have to resign. He stated, “There is nothing wrong with preparing for other options and considering those. It was an inadvertent public notification that went out when they changed the name of that Facebook account.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Claudia Ordaz Perez said that the city council needed to follow state law. Perez stated, “One, is this was done on a public platform. Two, any person from the public looking at this public page would assume that this was an announcement for public office.”

The Texas Constitution’s resign-to-run provision states, “If any of the officers named herein shall announce their candidacy, or shall in fact become a candidate, in any General, Special or Primary Election, for any office of profit or trust under the laws of this State or the United States other than the office then held, at any time when the unexpired term of the office then held shall exceed one year and 30 days, such announcement or such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held, and the vacancy thereby created shall be filled pursuant to law in the same manner as other vacancies for such office are filled.

Hernandez-Brown has filed to run in the special election. The El Paso city attorney issued a statement September 12 that Hernandez-Brown is allowed to be a candidate in that contest and can stay on the council until the special election is held.  

Read more about resign-to-run laws→

Half of Brew readers are seeing active election campaigning in their area

I visited Boston this past weekend where primaries are being held today for eight city council seats. I didn’t watch much television—so I didn’t see any campaign advertisements—but I did see plenty of candidate yard signs.

With six weeks left until this year’s general elections November 5—and 2020 presidential and statewide campaigns heating up—last week’s What’s the Tea? question asked whether Brew readers were noticing increased activity in their area. The results showed an even split:

What's the tea results?

Click here to learn about upcoming elections



About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.