- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on the application by the Green Party to become an official state party in North Carolina (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The Green Party has become North Carolina’s fourth official political party thanks to a new law offering more options to qualify, giving more candidate choices to some voters this fall.

The state elections board unanimously accepted the application of the Green Party of North Carolina on Tuesday. Its candidates can now automatically be put on state ballots through at least 2020. They join the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarian as official state parties for federal, state and local offices in North Carolina.

The decision also means registered voters can now officially affiliate with the Green Party.

It’s been difficult for smaller groups to become official parties because they had to collect more than 90,000 signatures of voters. A law approved last October lowers that threshold and also approves a new method based on whether the party has fielded candidates in at least 35 other states.

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2:15 a.m.

North Carolina voters should have additional candidates to choose from beginning this fall thanks to a new law that makes it easier for third parties to get on ballots.

The new state elections board plans to consider the application of the Green Party to become an official state party at its meeting Tuesday.

Currently only the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian Party are official parties that automatically get their candidates on ballots for federal, state and local offices in North Carolina.

A law approved last October that reduces the number of signatures for parties to qualify also gives them another qualification route if their candidates appeared on ballots in at least 35 states in the last presidential election. The Green Party is using this new qualification method.

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