The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) denied three different political parties ballot access on Wednesday night despite each group claiming they’ve obtained well over the required number of petition signatures as required by law to qualify.

As previously reported by Carolina Journal, the NCSBE has raised questions about the validity of certain signature sets.

The We the People Party, Justice For All Party, and Constitution Party of North Carolina have been working to achieve ballot access in North Carolina by obtaining over 13,865 signatures of support, each. While each party presented well over the required number of signatures, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted against certifying each party during the meeting, citing the potential for fraudulent signatures.

Last week, the NCSBE requested additional information from the third parties, including clarification on the party’s purpose and details on who collected signatures and how they were collected. 

“Please provide any examples of talking points and any scripts (or portions thereof) provided to petition circulators working in North Carolina that refer to the new party’s general purpose and intent,” the Board letter requested.

The We the People Party is working to place Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the ballot this November, and the Justice For All Party aims to secure ballot access for Cornel West.

Response materials from the We the People Party included individuals’ declarations that the general purpose of the party is to create an independent third party outside the duopoly of Republican versus Democrat. Petition circulators declared that the petition did not place RFK Jr. on the ballot, but rather, it created the We the People Party, which had intentions through its executive committee to nominate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“Today, we’re here to make sure that people knew what they were signing and exactly what they were doing,” said Board Secretary Jeff Carmon.

During the meeting, the board reviewed a video in which a petition circulator claimed the Justice For All petition would take votes away from Joe Biden, which is not part of the party’s stated purpose. The Justice For All Party’s representative, Italo Medelius, clarified that the party had no intention of helping Republicans win and could not control the circulator’s statements. 

For the We the People Party, Board members raised concerns about the new party and whether it should have followed the unaffiliated process. They inquired about the script used when obtaining signatures and asked for an explanation of the party’s distinctive purpose. Confusion came, they said, from one line saying they aim to get Kennedy on the ballot, and another line stating they’re starting a new party.

Board Chair Alan Hirsch said they need to further investigate to determine whether the parties meet the statutory criteria, particularly the purpose and intent of the petitions. Another meeting will be called to address allegations of fraud and potential misrepresentation.

“No, for now,” Hirsch told the We the People Party. “Understand, we will only act where there’s evidence.”

Referring to the Green Party’s similar situation two years ago in which a judge put the party back on the ballot after the July 1 deadline, he said he felt comfortable delaying certification based on precedent.

While Democrat board members voted against certifying the third parties, Republican board member Kevin Lewis called it a political hit job the origin of which is from outside the Board. 

“I’m afraid that you’re probably a victim of a political hit job, and I’m sorry that if we wasted your time today, but I appreciate you coming and answering our questions honestly,” said Lewis. “These allegations are coming from outside the board of elections, and so the political hit job I’m talking about is arising from outside the state board of elections.”

Democratic board member Jeff Carmon quickly responded to Lewis’ allegation.

“I’m not a hit man and you’re not a victim of any hit job,” said Carmon. “What I want to make sure happens is what you guys said you want to do, is what’s actually happening, and people are not being misled. That’s what I need to know, that the people that signed knew what they were signing up for.”


The campaign of Donald Trump reacted to the decision, saying it’s another example of Democrats trying to engage in blatant election interference because they have a flawed candidate.

“Now Democrats in North Carolina are doing the same to game the system to help Biden,” said Steven Cheung, Communications Director for the Trump campaign. “The assault on President Trump’s 14th Amendment right of equal protection of the law is equally abhorrent as Democrats continue to shred the very fabric of our country.”

The NCGOP called the decision a “disgusting abuse of process” that is intended to protect Joe Biden.

“The State Board of Elections’ majority have shown yet again there is no action too outrageous or too radical they won’t make to protect Joe Biden and Democrats,” said NCGOP Communications Director Matt Mercer.  “Yesterday, the question was whether they would follow the law or protect Joe Biden. Today, we have the answer: a disgusting abuse of process that have yet again only served to protect Democrats at the expense of North Carolina voters.”

Libertarian Party officials said it’s just the “Uniparty doing Uniparty things.”

They explained that alternate parties and candidates already have a hard enough time working within the rules, and the NCSBE action adds to election interference. Because the NCSBE left open the possibility of reversing its decision after further investigating the petitions, the LPNC urges the board to stop this partisan game-playing and recognize these three parties.