Last year Jim Tomasik was elected as the Tennessee Libertarian Party chairman. Tomasik promised to bring change to the libertarian party of Tennessee (LPTN), make the party a viable force within the state and work tirelessly. Last year at the LPTN state convention one voter asked Tomasik, “Are you willing to put your name on a lawsuit in order to win libertarians the right to be on the ballot?” Tomasik answered, “Of course.”
A report compiled by the LPTN, the Constitution Party and the Green Party of Tennessee shows that the state has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country.
Tomasik found himself in an opportune moment to prove himself to those who voted him in. State Representative Lois DeBerry passed away last July from pancreatic cancer. Tomasik was encouraged by supporters to run for the seat. Currently, no republican is seeking the nomination for the 91st State House district. Ramesh Akbari (D) won the democratic nominee weeks ago.
Tomasik decided to throw his hat in. Originally, Tomasik says he was listed as a Libertarian. However, Mark Goins, the republican appointed election coordinator, demanded Tomasik’s party affiliation be changed to “independent”. After Tomasik’s party affiliation was changed, he sued.
Federal Judge William J. Haynes, Jr., chief judge of the Middle Tennessee district delivered his ruling on the case last night. The case, Tomasik et al v. Goins et al, was a major victory for minor parties in the state of Tennessee seeking ballot access.
Judge Haynes ruled that Tomasik not being granted ballot access as a Libertarian was detrimental to his and his voters’ 1st Amendment rights.
Tomasik will be the first candidate listed as a libertarian in the state’s history. As of now, the race is between Tomasik (L) and Akbari (D). Early voting begins today and will last for approximately 2 weeks. The special election will be held on November 21st.
Tomasik spoke with us in an exclusive interview:
“Yesterday’s decision in 6th Circuit Federal Court is a milestone for the 1st Amendment in Tennessee. I’m very honored to be the first Libertarian Candidate vying for a Tennessee legislative seat in history to have proper party recognition. Judge Haynes has ordered Mark Goins, State of Tennessee coordinator of Elections, and the Shelby County Election Commission to correct their deceptive attempt to keep vital information from voters in House District 91 by ordering them to change my ballot designation back to libertarian instead of independent. The current election laws were ruled unconstitutional due to the absurd 40k signature requirement, which even the majority party would not have been able to attain within the given time frame.“
The LPTN and other minor parties are working with a few state legislators to make Tennessee’s election laws less exclusive.
The LPTN does not yet have a copy of the ruling. However, a link will be provided once it is delivered. To learn more about Tomasik and receive updates about this story visit his official website.
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