Many states have thresholds for parties to reach in order to become recognized as “major parties” and share in many amenities. Such is the case in Washington state, where 5% is required in the presidential race to gain “major party” status. According to last tally, Gary Johnson reached this mark, gaining 5.01%. However, the Washington Secretary of State announced that the LP did not qualify. As reported by Reason:
Why? Because that public total doesn’t include the sacred-to-Washington-process write-in vote.
This is despite the fact, as Winger reports, that the state has never even announced any counts of such votes for the past 24 years. But Wyman insists that including the write-ins will be done, and will dunk Johnson’s percentage below 5.
Some in the LP are suggesting that because votes are for electors rather than actual candidates, and write-ins do not have electors, these “candidates” do not have a right to have their votes counted. With the inclusion of around 100,000 write-in votes, Johnson’s percentage falls to about 4.86%. However, one county has not yet certified its vote, so that tally is not official.
This bureaucratic process further exemplifies just how difficult it can be for third-parties to break through the two-party monopoly. No matter how close they come to leaping over the arbitrary hurdles in front of them, third-parties can always be tripped up by further capricious rules.