Originally published Friday, May 31, 2019 at 05:02p.m.

PHOENIX (AP) — A state law that the Libertarian Party contends was designed to keep its candidates off Arizona ballots has been upheld by a federal appeals court.

Friday's ruling from 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments from the Libertarian Party that the law increasing the number of qualifying signatures party candidates need violates their constitutional rights.

The law 2015 law backed by Republicans had a major impact. Only one Libertarian seeking to run for the state Legislature or Congress made the ballot in 2016 compared to 18 in 2004.

Former Libertarian Party chairman Michael Kielsky has said Republicans created a law "laser-focused" on his party because they believed Libertarians were draining votes from GOP candidates.

The 9th Circuit ruling says the new state requirements don't unfairly impact Libertarian Party voters.