BANGOR — A federal judge has ordered Maine election officials to allow Libertarian Party members to reenroll in an expedited process and to nominate candidates for the 2022 elections.

The order by Judge Lance Walker, signed on Dec. 31, requires Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to send letters informing Libertarians that their unenrollment was unlawful and that they may rejoin.

The judge also ruled that due to tight timetables, Libertarians can nominate candidates under the party banner for the 2022 election, regardless whether their numbers reach the minimum threshold under state law. The ruling was first reported by the Bangor Daily News.

Libertarians qualified for party status in July 2016 by enrolling more than 5,000 members. But it did not meet the state law requirement of at least 10,000 members voting in the following election.

A lawsuit contends the state effectively discarded more than 6,000 voter registrations when it unenrolled Libertarians without their permission. That left only 105 registered Libertarian voters.

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