TENNESSEE’S BALLOT ACCESS LAW IS DESIGNED TO DENY BALLOT ACCESS

12 05 2018

I wanted to touch briefly on The Green Party of Tennessee’s candidate and prospects in the 2018 election. This is an issue we have litigated for years. We went through a frustrating cycle in which we would win court cases, and the judge would order the state to loosen up its ballot access laws. The state would ignore the decision. The judge would order the state to include our party name with our candidates’ names, and the state would do so for an election, and then drop us when none of our statewide candidates achieved the state-mandated minimum number of votes to stay on the ballot. Recently, the judge who saw things our way retired, and the last time we went to court, we got a different judge, who, in spite of numerous rulings in other courts holding laws like Tennessee’s unconstitutionally exclusive, upheld the state law. The gubernatorial candidate we are running,  Yvonne Neubert, is running as an “independent.” Even if she gets more than 5% of the vote, her win will not help get The Green Party back on the ballot.

yvonne

Barred by law from decaring herself “The Green Party candidate,” she sends the message subtly.

Let’s face it: Tennessee’s so-called “ballot access laws” are actually designed to keep other parties besides the D’s and R’s off the ballot. First of all, they were initially enacted in the early 60’s, as the “Dixiecrat” rebellion, conservative Southern Democrats opposed to racial integration, was gathering steam, in hopes of keeping George Wallace off the ballot in Tennessee. As it happens, there was enough support for Wallace and his “American Independent Party” in the state so that he and his party actually fulfilled the law’s requirements, collecting the nearly forty thousand signatures needed to get their party’s name on the ballot. No party has succeeded since.

There are two ways the law works against an up-and-coming party. The first is that the number of signatures required to place a party’s name on the ballot is large enough so that professional  petitioners are a necessity. That costs about two dollars per signature. Since not everybody signs correctly, or is even entitled to sign, it’s advisable to gather around twice the number of signatures needed. That means that a party that wants its name on the ballot needs to raise somewhere between sixty and a hundred thousand dollars just to get its name on the ballot for one election. If none of the party’s statewide candidates win 5% or more of  the vote, the party is back to square one, and has essentially been fined a very hefty sum just for trying.

Here’s the other way this law actually discourages new parties. Read the rest of this entry »





GREEN PARTY OF TENNESSEE ANNUAL MEETING!

31 03 2011

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2011

Contact Info:
Martin Holsinger: 615 876-2635
Trish Wiksten: 865-755-5681

GREEN PARTY OF TENNESSEE CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY

The Green Party of Tennessee will be celebrating its ten year anniversary at its upcoming state meeting. The meeting will be held April 9-10th at the Ecovillage Training Center at the Farm in Summertown, TN. The meeting is open to all who identify with the 10 key values of the Green Party. There is a suggested registration fee of $10-$20. Camping space, indoor accommodations and meals are available for an additional cost.

At the meeting, the Green Party will elect officers and plan its activities for the coming year. There will be breakout sessions on a variety of topics as well as a Saturday morning nature hike, and a Saturday evening party with an open mike.

Since the Sixth Circuit Court recently declared Tennessee’s ballot access law unconstitutional, the party is working to implement the decision and get our party’s name linked to our candidates on Tennessee ballots. This will be one of the items of discussion at the meeting. For further information on the state meeting please contact either Martin Holsinger or Trish Wiksten

For accommodations at the Inn at the Farm contact Alayne or Jessi at 931-964-4474.

For further information on the Green Party of Tennessee see www.tn.greens.org
For information on the Green Party of the United States www.gp.org
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