While third-party candidates are often restricted from participating in debates, many Libertarian supporters argue their party is being put at a disadvantage.
Republican incumbent Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Elaine Marshall will be participating in election debates on Oct. 11 and 21 while Libertarian candidate Michael Beitler will not.
Tim Morrissey, president of the N.C. Association of Broadcasters and the Educational Foundation, said third-party candidates must be supported by at least 10 percent in public polls by Sept. 1 in order to be included in the debates.
It is common for the Libertarian candidates not to meet this standard — which is not intended to prevent any particular party from participating, Morrissey said.
Many of Beitler’s supporters feel this exclusion is an unfair hindrance to the democratic process.
“This exclusion reflects a larger pattern of exclusion by the state of North Carolina,” said Alex Lopez, vice president of the UNC College Libertarians.
In order to be placed on the ballot, third party candidates must obtain 100,000 signatures, Lopez said.
Supporters spent significant energy and resources obtaining these signatures and were frustrated to find their candidate would not be allowed to participate in these debates, he said.
“If they really wanted the best candidates, they would let all ideas come to the table,” Lopez said.