On February 3, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes invalidated Tennessee’s new ballot access law for minor parties. The case is Green Party of Tennessee and Constitution Party of Tennessee v Hargett, 3:11-00692. The decision is 90 pages. It strikes down the early April petition deadline, and also strikes down the 40,029 signature petition requirement. And, it says that it is unconstitutional to force minor parties to nominate by primary, at least in the context of an open primary state that doesn’t have party registration. It strikes down the 2011 law that reserves the best positions on the ballot for the two major parties.
The decision also puts the Constitution and Green Parties on the 2012 ballot, based on the evidence that in the recent past, both parties did collect several thousand signatures on petitions to get on the Tennessee ballot.