Tennessee court will reconsider third party regulations case

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November 30, 2012

By Maureen Ryland

Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: After a ruling in February about third party access to the ballot, Tennessee's General Assembly changed the laws regulating ballot access.[1] The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has requested the lower court to reconsider its original decision in light of the legislative change in regulations.

The February decision struck down the state's requirement that a third party hold a primary, and that a third party candidate must collect 40,000 signatures seven months before the election to appear on the general election ballot. It also ruled that third party names with the words "independent" and "nonpartisan" were unconstitutional. The case was brought by Tennessee's Green Party and Constitution Party.

Under the new rules enacted by the legislature, parties can choose candidates either by primary election or by their own internal standards. If they opt not to hold a primary, the party must collect signatures and turn them in 90 days before the general election.

The court of appeals overturned the ruling about the third party names on the grounds that the two parties bringing the case were not affected by it. The local court will return to the case in order to reconsider its ruling about the third party rules.

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