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Tennessee Bills Introduced to Eliminate Need for Minor Parties to Submit Massive Petitions

Bills have been introduced in both houses of the Tennessee legislature to return Tennessee to its pre-1961 ballot access rules for new and minor parties. As was the case before 1961, parties could be recognized if they filed paperwork identifying their officers and bylaws, but no petition would be needed. Their individual nominees would each need 25 signatures.

Under current Tennessee law, independent candidates only need 25 signatures, and candidates can get on primary ballot with 25 signatures. But minor party candidates can’t run, with their party label, unless their party submits over 40,000 valid signatures.

The bill, if enacted, would be similar to the Mississippi law on new and minor parties. Mississippi has never required a petition for a party to be on the ballot; it must merely be organized. The bills are SB 2575 by Senator Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) and Representative Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley). Thanks to Daniel Lewis for the news.

3 Responses

  1. Kevin Knedler

    If I am correct the same 6th circuit court covers both Tennessee and Ohio. Hope so, if needed in the future.

    • That is correct. Tennessee has a number of ballot related court cases in the courts right now. One of them is the case the placed the Constitution Party and the Green Party on the ballot in 2012. The state has appealed to the 6th Circuit. It was remanded back to the trial court last year. No we are waiting for a ruling. These cases are why we are having the discussion and are able to get a bill such as the FREEDOM Act introduced.

  2. Jim Riley

    Tennessee should go all the way and get rid of the partisan primaries, and it won’t really matter if they recognize political parties or not.

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