January 01, 2008
Friday is primary petition pick-up day for TN Legislature and US Congress
If you or someone you know plans to be a major-party candidate in Hamilton County for the Tennessee House of Representatives (Districts 26-31), the Tennessee Senate (District 10), the U.S. House of Representatives (District 3), or the U.S. Senate, then know this: this Friday, January 4, 2008, is the first day to pick up petitions for the primary elections on August 7.
Tennessee, even though it has strict ballot access laws for parties other than the big two, has one of the lowest thresholds in the nation for individuals seeking the qualification to run for office. One needs a mere twenty-five (25) valid signatures from registered voters who reside in the district where one plans to run. A great many candidates pick up and turn in their qualifying petitions the same day. Those without strong party connections need to work a little harder, but the good news is that they have until noon on Thursday, April 3 to turn in their signatures. If you can't find two dozen or so backers in three months, then chances are you need to work on your skills to represent the district.
What if you qualify, but then change your mind? Or what if you qualify, but then move out of your district (and you aren't like a certain former Chattanooga City Council member)? The law allows you to withdraw by a specified deadline,* and no questions are asked (but I think that you still have to turn in financial disclosure papers throughout the remainder of the cycle). If you miss the withdrawal deadline, your name will still be on the ballot.
Independent (and in Tennessee, this includes Constitution, Green, Libertarian, or any other so-called third party) candidates for the November legislative elections will pick up their qualifying petitions on Friday, May 23; and the deadline for signatures is Thursday, August 21.
All of this information is available at the Hamilton County Election Commission website, which is now using Google Calendar. If you have a Google account, you can simply click on an event on the Election Calendar, and add it to your own in a couple of easy steps. This isn't a plug for Google, necessarily, but I'm glad to see that a tool has been selected that is far superior to prior means of publishing this information.
*It doesn't look like the withdrawal deadlines are yet published, but they are usually a week or two (if memory serves) after the respective qualifying deadline.
Elections | By joe lance | 10:53 AM