Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap works with Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn, right, during the ballot-tabulation process for Maine's 2nd Congressional District election in this 2018 file photo. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen qualified for the Maine ballot on Tuesday, bringing an end to the third party’s lawsuit over state rules and putting the fifth and final party hopeful on the November slate here.

The party promoting civil liberties and small government was recognized in Maine between June 2016 and December 2018, but it then failed to reach a voter threshold to be recognized as a party. Jorgensen was therefore required to collect 4,000 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot, the state’s threshold for non-party candidates.

Jorgensen’s campaign sued the state in late July over the threshold, asking a U.S. District Court judge to halve the requirement, which it said was too onerous amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the office of Secretary of State Matt Dunlap determined the campaign had enough signatures to qualify, Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner said in a Tuesday filing.

That led the parties to agree to dismiss the suit. Jorgensen will be on the Maine ballot in November alongside President Donald Trump, a Republican, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and Green nominee Howie Hawkins and Rocky de la Fuente of the Alliance Party. The latter candidate had to meet the same threshold as Jorgensen.

The Maine race will be under the microscope as Trump looks to repeat his 2016 win in the 2nd Congressional District with Biden leading recent public polls statewide. The third-party candidates could have an outsized importance with the state planning to use ranked-choice voting for the first time in the history of presidential elections.

Dunlap’s office is still dealing with a similar lawsuit in federal court from former independent 2nd Congressional District candidate Tiffany Bond, who is trying to make the 2020 U.S. Senate ballot. She sued in June after saying virus restrictions halted her effort to make the ballot, though two other independents made the ballot in that race.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...