Minor Political Parties Sue Tennessee

Posted to Courthouse News Service
Monday October 14, 2013

NASHVILLE (CN) – Tennessee places “an unconstitutional burden” on minor political parties seeking places on the ballot, the Green and Constitution Parties of Tennessee claim in Federal Court.

Tennessee’s Libertarian Party filed a similar lawsuit last week, claiming that Tennessee’s deadlines for petition signature collection for special general elections are unconstitutional.

In the law complaint, the Green and Constitution Parties claim the state’s requirements for petition signatures and number of votes for minor parties are unconstitutional. They also claim that the requirement to file an affidavit promising not to support the overthrow of the government is unconstitutional.

The parties sued Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Elections Coordinator Mark Goins.

Tennessee Code Annotated 2-1-104 requires minor parties to obtain the signatures of 2.5 percent of the total number of votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in the most recent election of governor, to be recognized and appear on the ballot.

But a federal judge ruled in Green Party of Tenn. et al. vs. Hargett et al. that Section 2-1-104 was “unconstitutional and granted plaintiffs status as ‘recognized minor parties’ for the purposes of the 2012 general election,” according to the complaint.

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