How to Start a Political Party in the United States

(Image: Eve Epstein)

As a proud American, there's nothing you respect more than the national flag, bald eagles and football. But you also have a few ideas that can make this country even better. You believe that it should be is every citizen’s right to smoke organic kale, drink super-carbonated colas and eat trans fats with every meal. You think taxes on pre-schoolers should be tripled, and you're adamant that the money should go toward a bi-annual "Battle of the Bands" competition. Goats should be outlawed, but you advocate for an open border for mimes. Unfortunately, these seemingly reasonable positions don't appear to align with any of the dozens of registered political parties in the United States. What can you do? Simple: start your own party.

Begin by rounding up a few like-minded people. Most states require you to create a "political body" that elects temporary officers who set the rules for how your new party will operate.

(Image: Eve Epstein)

Next, you'll need to contact the State Election Commission in every state in which you wish to register your party. Each state has different guidelines for starting a political party, but they're pretty similar overall. As you might surmise, the devil is in the details. Some states, for example, expect you to secure a certain number of signatures per county, while others only require one overall set of signatures for the entire state. Be sure to do your homework.

Now it's on to canvassing. You'll need to convince some percentage of eligible voters to complete an "affidavit of registration.” That percentage varies by state – in California, for example, it's .33 percent. The affidavit is a document filled out by individual voters with the name of your prospective party. If you enjoy going door-to-door with a five-second elevator pitch on your new political party, then you'll love this part of the process.

No luck convincing people to join your merry band? Try the petition method instead. Just convince 10 percent of voters that they should have the right to vote on your agenda at the ballot box. Congrats: you've fulfilled the requirement for starting your own political party.

Finally, file your petition or your affidavits with the State Election Commission in each state according to the submission regulations and... voila! You will be the proud leader of a brand new political party.

(Image: Eve Epstein)

Phew! That was a cakewalk, right? Well, now the work really begins. It’s time to write your platform, find candidates to run for office and take over the world. Democratically, that is.

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