Over at Ballot Access News, Richard Winger reports:
In North Carolina, it takes alot of support to get an independent on the ballot. Once on the ballot, this candidate has to overcome the impact of "straight ticket" voting, which favors one party or another. This option is often recommended by political parties, and often is relied upon by low information voters.
North Carolina Senator Will Introduce Bill to Ease Independent
Candidate Ballot Access in 2009 September 16th, 2008
North Carolina State Senator Jim Jacumin (R-Connellys Springs) has told a constituent that he will introduce a bill to ease ballot access for independent candidates next year. North Carolina ballot access for independent candidates is so severe that no independent has ever qualified for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, or Governor, in the history of government-printed ballots in that state. Ross Perot in 1992 is the only person who ever qualified as an independent candidate. District independent candidates need a petition of 4% of the number of registered voters, which is as much as 20,000 signatures in some U.S. House districts. No independent candidate for U.S. House in U.S. history has ever overcome a petition hurdle as great as 14,000 signatures.
However, in spite of all of that, we see, as with Ross Perot, that independent candidates actually fare much better than third party candidates.