A new Republican-sponsored bill in Arkansas vastly increases candidate filing fees. The latest news on this front comes from a really interesting article at Ballot Access News written by the widely-respected election expert and advocate for third party/independent ballot access Richard Winger. Take a look at this excerpt:
On April 13, Arkansas State Senator Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) introduced SB 684. It eliminates the ability of parties that nominate by primary to set their candidate filing fees. Instead a state law would dictate the amount of fees, which would be considerably higher than the fees now set by the Democratic Party. U.S. Senate and Governor would be $12,000; U.S. House would be $10,000; State Senate would be $4,500; State House would be $3,000.
This would probably result in even fewer candidates on the ballot. Already over half of all Arkansas state legislative races already have only one candidate on the ballot. Also, if the bill is signed into law, there would probably be many more instances of candidates declaring themselves “paupers”, which enables them to avoid fees, but is bad public relations.
In 2012, Senator Garner was the author of the bill that indirectly moved the petition deadline for new party petitions to November of the year before the election, and deadline that still exists. Thanks to Mark Moore for the news about the bill.