Posted by The Critograph on Oct. 5, 2016
Katherine Graves, Assistant Editor-
If you don’t want to vote Democrat or Republican this presidential election, you have other options. The Lynchburg Libertarian Party is holding their monthly meeting, Lynchburg Libertarians October Happy Hour, on Monday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at The White Hart on Main Street in downtown Lynchburg.
At the meeting, the group will do introductions, plan for fundraising and plan for after the election. The group’s meetings are on the second Monday of each month, usually at The White Hart. Anyone can come to the party’s monthly meetings.
The Libertarian Party candidate for the presidential election is Gary Johnson.
“The Libertarian Party is all about individual rights, individual liberties, whereas the other parties don’t really care about that. They care more about what will get them the most votes,” said Michael Sale, chair for the Libertarian Party of Central Virginia and head of the Lynchburg Libertarians.
Sale reasoned that this integrity that he admires in his party may be the reason they struggle.
“If you look at Republicans and Democrats—you go back 30 years ago—they don’t even look like the same party because they’ve changed depending on whatever’s popular. They’re all just looking for votes,” Sale said. “And that may be one reason why we never get a large amount of people to actually vote for us, because we don’t really compromise our principles to fit the way people may want to vote.”
Sale was drawn to the Libertarian Party after becoming frustrated with the government when the business he worked for faced expensive zoning restrictions.
“Stuff like that happens every day, where somebody’s finally like, okay, enough is enough. And then they decide that we need to get the government out of stuff,” Stale stated.
Sale said that when Forthill Automotive & Collision Center, the repair shop he worked for, wanted to sell used cars along with their regular business, the government required his business to meet zoning requirements that included $20,000 to $30,000 of landscaping and redoing their parking lot.
“People are slowly starting to realize that the government’s becoming really, really petty with things,” said Sale.
Sale hopes that this election will result in at least a 10 percent vote for Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, which would allow the Libertarian Party to be recognized as a major party that doesn’t need to petition to get candidates on government ballots.
“If we get 10 percent in Virginia, we can get ballot access. And then if we want to run somebody for a position, we can actually just run them without having to get petitions,” Sale said. “[With] Gary Johnson, we needed 5,000 [signatures], and we ended up getting about 7,500 to put him on the ballot. But then for government, you need 10,000. But if Gary Johnson gets 10 percent, we don’t have to do that.”
If Johnson wins 10 percent of the votes in the election and the Libertarian Party gets primary party status, the party will no longer have to petition to get candidates on the ballot for positions for governor, state Senate, House of Delegates, Senate or Congress, Sale stated.
When people are looking into parties that they want to support, Sale suggested they examine how much of a role they want the government to play and then support the party they agree with most.
“When you look at a party, you really, I think, should look at what do you think is the role of the government? And then maybe make your decision based off of that,” Sale said.
Although anyone can come to the meetings, people who want to become members of the party must pay dues, Sale said. Dues for students are $30, and dues for non-students are $60.
Members must pay national, state and local fees, stated Sale. The national fee is $25 for students and non-students. The State fee is $5 for students and $25 for non-students. The local fee is $10 for non-students, and the local fee is waived for students.
Members of the party vote on bylaws, officers and issues like where money is spent, for instance if the party should spend money to have information booths at local events, Sale stated.
Those looking for more information on the Lynchburg Libertarians can visit the Lynchburg Libertarians’ Facebook page. Those looking for more information on Libertarian Party can visit the party’s website at http://www.lp.org/.