JUNE 27, 2006 - Posted at 4:19 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal lawsuit filed today challenges Arkansas' rules on third-party access to election ballots. The Green Party of Arkansas filed the suit and argues that the state violates the Constitution by using different rules for independent candidates.
The party says it is unfair that an independent candidate needs only 10,000 signatures to get on the November 7 general election ballot. But small parties need 24,171 signatures this year.
Last month, the Green Party turned in about 18,000 signatures, short of the required number to certify a new political party under state law.
The law requires third parties to submit the number of signatures equal to three percent of the total votes cast in the previous gubernatorial election.
Tim Humphries, an attorney for the secretary of state's office, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The ACLU, which sued on behalf of the Green Party, is asking for an expedited hearing.