Arkansas Tells Court its Third Party Ballot Rules are Constitutional

JULY 13, 2006 - Posted at 3:17 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas Secretary of State Charlie Daniels says the state's requirements for third-party candidates to get on the ballot is constitutional.  The method is different than the rules for independent candidates, and that disparity is the target of a lawsuit, to which Daniels filed his reponse today.

The federal suit was brought by the Green Party of Arkansas, which challenged the state over its denial of signatures submitted to gain recognition in the November 7 election.

The lawsuit claims the state unfairly uses a different standard for third parties than it does for independent candidates.

Daniels' lawyer argues in the filing that Jim Lendall, who hopes to get on the ballot as the Green Party's gubernatorial candidate, lacks standing to sue.  The filing says the Green Party has not had its nominating convention so the party has not been harmed.

The filing also denied the plaintiff argument that the state's rules governing third parties violates the First and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

In May, the party turned in about 18,000 signatures, far fewer than the 24,171 required for the secretary of state to certify a new political party under state law.  Independent candidates are only required to submit 10,000 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)