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Judge Requires Drawing to Decide Which Party Listed First on TN Ballot

By Sheila Burke, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge has ruled that the state may not enforce several rules that minor political parties claim are roadblocks to their candidates getting elected.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Haynes Jr. refused to stay his earlier decision requiring the state to hold a random drawing to determine which candidate’s name goes first on the November general election ballot.
The ruling is part of lawsuit jointly filed against the state by the Green Party and Constitution Party, which claim that the state has imposed unconstitutional hurdles to third parties running for election in Tennessee.
“The candidate with the number one listing has a 5 percent electoral advantage because people who aren’t familiar with any of the names just pick the top one,” said Alan Woodruff, a Johnson City attorney who is representing the Constitution and Green parties.
State law currently says that a Republican will be listed first because that is the majority party in the General Assembly, Woodruff said. The law says that a candidate running as a Democrat will be listed second because it is the party in the minority in the state legislature, he said.

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