Tennessee State Officials Sued Over “Unduly Burdensome” Candidate Requirements

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Rebecca Scott] –

With an election year fast approaching, the Libertarian Party of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit citing “unduly burdensome” requirements placed on any candidate not running as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.

Libertarian Party leaders claim that the laws in Tennessee make it virtually impossible to effectively run as a third-party candidate. The lawsuit is filed against Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins.

Any candidate running for statewide election under one of the three main party affiliations is required to present 25 registered voter signatures 90 days before the election in order to appear on the ballot.

However, any candidate wishing to run under a minor party affiliation is required to amass registered voter signatures in an amount equal to 2.5% of votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election.

To put this requirement into perspective, over 1.76 million people cast their votes in 2022, with Governor Lee securing the win. Crunch the numbers and that means that any person wishing to run as a minor party candidate must first collect more than 44,000 signatures from registered Tennessee voters 90 days before the election in order to appear on the ballot.

Oftentimes these third party, or minor party, affiliated candidates will appear on the ballot as an Independent because the requirements are exceedingly more achievable. But most candidates would prefer to run along their own party lines, and the Libertarian Party argues that Tennessee law discriminates against these smaller and sometimes lesser-known parties and platforms.

In regard to the effort it takes to even get on a general election ballot as a third party candidate, Libertarian Party of Tennessee Vice Chair Chris Darnell is quoted as saying, “It takes a lot of work on the front end, and by the time we get to the election, a lot of our volunteers are already burnt out because we’re pushing them so hard to get those signatures.”

The Libertarian Party of Tennessee hopes to win the lawsuit in order to make way for themselves and others to run candidates with equal requirements as the major parties.

Their lawyer, James C. Linger, asserts that, “It’s hard to justify laws that give voters less information about candidates.”

If the party is successful in leveling the playing field, Tennessee voters may gain a better understanding of the choices they have to make at the voting booths in 2024.

Rebecca Scott is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Rebecca at Rebecca@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

3 thoughts on “Tennessee State Officials Sued Over “Unduly Burdensome” Candidate Requirements

  • December 6, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    In Virginia, 1100 signatures PER COUNTY and independent city are required to get on the ballot. With 95 counties and 38 independent cities, it is a BIG job, 146,300 signatures that are ALL checked for accuracy. Duplications are thrown out..

    Glenn Youngkin solved the problem by paying volunteers $750/WEEK to gather signatures. Of course, the Deep Staters have that kind of money to gain power.

  • December 6, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    I hope they win. I know I’d prefer to have some other candidates than our standard RINO lineup.

  • December 7, 2023 at 1:57 am

    Common people doesn’t have a chance of running for just about any office unless they are Million or Billionaires. Too much money and corruption. Term limits need to be Voted on NOT by the politicians either!!


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