Wishing they had more options to choose from is a common refrain among apathetic voters. Well, North Carolina voters will all but certainly find more options on their ballot from which to choose for the general election this fall.

Sunday, June 1 marked the deadline for three aspiring political parties to submit the required signatures to gain ballot access in November: We The People Party, Justice For All Party of NC, and the Constitution Party of North Carolina. All three have exceeded the required 13,865 valid signatures from North Carolina voters per the petition page on the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) website.

From NCSBE.gov

Each of the entities filed for ballot access with the State Board earlier this year. Even though the number of verified signatures published online exceed the thresholds, state officials are still formally reviewing the petitions, according to NCSBE spokesman Pat Gannon.

“State Board staff continues to review petitions submitted by the Constitution Party of North Carolina, Justice for All Party of North Carolina, and We the People,” Gannon told Carolina Journal. “The State Board is expected to meet in mid-June to consider the recognition of these parties as official political parties in North Carolina.”

The path from here to ballot access for the parties isn’t necessarily a sure thing, though, if recent history regarding third party access is any guide. The State Board initially rejected the petitions of the Green Party of North Carolina as well as that of the No Labels party. In what became a scandal involving the NC Democratic Party, the Green Party eventually sued and won, after alleging Democrats were employing partisan bias to block competition from the ballot.

“The State Board threw up roadblocks against both the Green Party and the No Labels Party petitions, even though both parties submitted more than enough signatures,” Dr. Andy Jackson, Director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation, reminded Carolina Journal. “Will any of the current petitioning parties get the same treatment this year?”

The question of three additional parties is especially relevant given their potential impact in a presidential election year. Exactly which side of the two-party aisle the different third party candidates will draw from has been a matter of debate and consternation for politicos and pollsters looking ahead to November.

According to Jackson, the political impact of the three distinct parties could not be more different.

“The Constitution Party is expressly conservative and will likely attract some voters who would otherwise vote Republican,” Jackson highlights. “The Justice for All party is the vehicle for socialist activist Cornel West’s presidential campaign, which will likely take some votes from President Biden. Likewise, the We the People Party is the vehicle for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign.”

It is the campaign of RFK Jr. serving as the biggest question mark for poll watchers. The scion of a family of political juggernauts has been a darling of the environmental left for decades due to his spearheading lawsuits against polluters and advocating for harsh policies to combat climate change, but his recent political rise has launched from an unabashed anti-vaccine stance, striking populist chords that resonate among the Trump base. Polling shows RFK Jr. with a small, but significant showing of support between 7-10%.

What will that mean in the voting booth? All the moving parts may not make for much movement, suggests Jackson.

“The conventional wisdom had been that Kennedy’s presence on the ballot would hurt Biden, but recent polling shows him pulling about equally from Trump and Biden supporters,” said Jackson. “It looks like the net effect of having all three parties on the ballot in November will be a political wash.”