NC Green, Constitution parties fall short in signatures

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, a federal judge ordered North Carolina elections officials to update absentee voting rules to ensure that voters prove they have had someone witness their ballot. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH — The Constitution Party of North Carolina and North Carolina Green Party have failed to garner enough signatures to remain official political parties in the state for now, an election official said Monday.

The State Board of Elections determined earlier this year  that the two small parties had fallen short of candidate support thresholds from last November. But the board said the parties would be recognized again to field candidates starting later this year if each collected about 13,900 signatures of registered voters by Saturday.

Neither party reached that goal, board spokesman Noah Grant wrote in an email. That means their parties’ registrants — totaling 9,600 between them — will now be re-designated as unaffiliated voters.

The confirmed signatures so far — over 2,800 for the Constitution Party and fewer than 10 for the Green Party — will roll over into petitions to field candidates in the November 2022 election, Grant said. The groups would need to be meet the thresholds by next June 1 to qualify.

For now, the state will recognize just three official political parties: the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians.