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VOL. 127 | NO. 55 | Tuesday, March 20, 2012

State Seeks Stay of Ruling on 3rd Parties in Tenn.

AP

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – Against the backdrop of the 2012 presidential election, a legal battle is under way that will determine how many roadblocks minor political party candidates face when trying to get on election ballots in Tennessee.

Last month a federal court judge in Nashville said laws on the books violated the state constitution because they make it unreasonably hard for minor political party candidates to get their names on the ballot. The ruling was a victory for the Tennessee Green and Constitution parties, which filed a joint federal lawsuit against the state.

But their victory may be short lived.

The Johnson City Press is reporting that lawyers for the state of Tennessee have asked for the court's orders to be put on hold while the state pursues an appeal.

"The major parties have been set up to rule the roost," said Alan Woodruff, an attorney who is representing the Green and Constitution parties. "It becomes harder and harder for small parties to form."

The litigation will determine when minor political parties must quality to be on the ballot and how they will be identified on future ballots. The minor parties are also fighting to determine where their names will be listed on the ballot.

State law says a minor political party must collect 40,000 signatures by April 5 to get its name on the ballot in 2012. The major parties do not have to collect signatures to be placed on the ballot.

"The April 5 deadline remains the same for major party candidates," Mark Goins, state coordinator of elections, said.

On Feb. 3, U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. said April 5 was too early and unconstitutional. Haynes said the law as it is gives Goins the leeway to raise the number of signatures required at his discretion.

Information from: Johnson City Press, www.johnsoncitypress.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 0 541 2,593
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0