Judge Says Green Party Candidates Can be on Arkansas Ballot

AUGUST 23, 2006 - Posted at 3:31 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A federal judge has ordered Arkansas to put

Green Party nominees for state office on the November Seventh

general election ballot.

U.S. District Judge George Howard Junior said the three percent

requirement for voter signatures to certify a new political party

violates the Green Party's rights. Howard said the Arkansas

Secretary of State must recognize the Green Party candidates and

put them on the ballot.

The state required that a new party must get a total number of

signatures equal to three percent of the vote in the last

governor's race.

The lawsuit was argued before the court by the American Civil

Liberties Union.

The A-C-L-U said it was unfair for the state to require more

than 24-thousand signatures to place its candidates on a statewide

ballot while independent candidates needed only ten thousand

signatures. The Green Party had turned in signatures from about

18-thousand voters.

Bryan Sells, an A-C-L-U attorney, said the tougher requirement

for third parties creates an anti-competitive environment intended

only to help the parties in power.

But an attorney for the secretary of state's office, Brian

Brooks, said the Green Party never intended to meet the state's

requirement. Brooks said the party ``manufactured'' a lawsuit when

the party stopped short of getting the 24-thousand-171 signatures


Jim Lendall, a former state representative from Mabelvale, was a

plaintiff in the suit. Lendall wants to run for governor as the

Green Party nominee.