The Libertarian Party of Tennessee has launched a drive to collect enough signatures to have the party’s candidates listed on the November ballot by party label rather than as “independent.”
Excerpt from a Columbia Daily Herald column on the effort:
Under state law, Democrats and Republicans only need 25 signatures. But alternative parties need 34,000 valid signatures, almost double the votes Johnson received here in 2012. (Note: Gary Johnson was the Libertarian presidential nominee then and has been nominated again. A Politico report on the party convention and November prospects is HERE.)
Republicans, who control the state legislature, have stacked the deck against third parties. Lawsuits and proposed legislation have done little to change the atmosphere. Both Republicans and Democrats think Libertarians hurt their chances in tight races.
“The current political climate has many people looking for alternatives to the two major parties,” (Tennessee Libertarian Chairman Jim) Tomasik said. “In Tennessee, we in essence only have one major party due to the fact that the Democratic Party is dominated overwhelmingly by the Republican super majority.
“Tennesseans looking for more choices are invited to join our petition drive.”
Note: The Tennessee Libertarian Party’s website has a news release on the “ballot access drive” HERE, including a link to the petition form. An excerpt is below:
When Tennessee first became a state, voters brought their own ballots to the polls. In 1831 political parties started printing ballots and giving them to voters to deposit in the ballot box on Election Day. In 1890 the State of Tennessee began printing ballots. At this time it was very easy for a political party to get recognized. Between 1831 and 1961 over thirty political parties existed in Tennessee and put candidates on the ballot. Then, in 1961, the Tennessee legislature made it much more difficult for a new political party to get their candidates with their party name next to them on the ballot. Since 1961, over 90% of independent Presidential Candidates in Tennessee were actually the nominee of an alternative political party. This is why the Libertarian Party of Tennessee is seeking to be recognized as a political party.
Help the Libertarian Party of Tennessee gain ballot access. The total number of signatures we need to get PARTY RECOGNITION in Tennessee is exactly 33,844 VALID signatures.
They must be filed with in the hands of the Secretary of State by noon on AUGUST 10, 2016.
This means we need to collect about 67,688 signatures.