Libertarians Challenge Tennessee’s Ballot Access Law
The Libertarian Party of Tennessee filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging Tennessee’s fifty-three year old ballot access law. Patricia Gilmore, a Davidson County Voter, joined in the lawsuit because of major problems with the two-party system. Gilmore remarked:
In this broken election system that apparently values dollar bills over individuals, people are losing their natural rights to free expression via association. A closed ballot, which fiercely restricts access to only two parties, does not allow voters the ability to freely associate with any party that best represents their interests, as opposed to special interests. Very few voters have the time and ability to research every candidate in every election and are discouraged from voting by the distinct impression that they may only associate with parties Bad and Worse.
Bonnie Tyndall a voter from Williamson County joined the lawsuit because she feels voters have a right to know about the candidates on the ballot, and the “independent” label provides no useful information to voters. Daniel Lewis, the Libertarian Party of Tennessee’s 2014 nominee for governor and a voter in Davidson County joined the lawsuit because ballot access restrictions violate the fundamental rights of voters to vote in an informed manner. Lewis remarks:
Ballot access restrictions obstruct the rights of individual voters to cast an informed vote in an election. Archival recordings of the Tennessee Legislature debating this issue in 1961 show a legislative intent to force alternative party candidates to run as independents, so that voters would not know that they are associated with a political party or with which party they were associated. The law made it nearly impossible for new political parties to form.
View a copy of the complaint