For those of us who worked to get Ralph Nader on state ballots in 2000, one persistent story was that North Carolina had some of the most prohibitive ballot access requirements in the United States. That remained the case right through last year's election, when the Stein/Baraka Green Party ticket won more than 12,000 write-in votes in the Tarheel State.
I am ecstatic to report, for those who have not yet heard, that North Carolina has relaxed its criteria! It didn't even require lengthy, tedious, expensive litigation: Last week the Republican-led Legislature overturned the Democratic governor's veto of Senate Bill 656. Maybe the Republicans in both chambers were thinking strategically, buying into the conventional wisdom that Greens on the ballot will steal votes from the Democrats and restore the governor's mansion to the Republicans—who, after all, own it by divine right.
I am less ecstatic to report that my native state of Oklahoma is still the biggest stick in the proverbial red-clay mud, making third-party ballot lines nigh unobtainable. I still don't know how the Libertarians managed it.
In other news, Texas's ballot access law still sux. (See Section 181.005, currently on page 621 of the 914-page Texas Election Code PDF.)