By Mike Baker Associated Press
OLYMPIA — The Libertarian Party has filed a lawsuit to block Mitt Romney from the November ballot in Washington state, arguing that Republicans are no longer a major political party, officials said Thursday.
The filing in Thurston County contends that the GOP does not get an automatic slot on the ballot because state law defines major parties as those that receive 5 percent of the vote in a statewide race during a November general election in even years. Republican Dino Rossi did get 48 percent of the vote in the U.S. Senate race two years ago but wasn’t officially nominated by the party at its convention, and Washington’s top-two primary system is not considered a nominating process.
State election officials, led by Republican Sam reed, cite older laws that say a party qualifies as a major political party if its presidential ticket got more than 5 percent of the vote in the last White House vote. Since that happened in 2008, the state believes both Republicans and Democrats automatically qualify to have their candidates on the November ballot.
Minor parties can get on Washington’s ballot by holding a nominating convention within the state and collecting at least 1,000 qualifying signatures, but that deadline has passed.
The lawsuit believes the GOP ticket can now only run a write-in campaign in Washington.
A Republican spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.