U.S. District Court Judge George Howard today ruled that Green Party gubernatorial nominee Jim Lendall, and other party candidates, must be given a spot on the November general election ballot.
The American Civil Liberties Union asked Howard to uphold his own 1996 ruling, which said that ballot access requirements should be the same for new political parties as for independent candidates.
Secretary of State Charlie Daniels has been enforcing a rule that requires third-party candidates to collect over 24,000 signatures to get on the ballot, while independent candidates only need to get 10,000. Earlier this year, the Green Party submitted around 18,000 signatures in behalf of Lendall.
Howard's ruling today said that the Green Party's consititutional rights had been violated, and he ordered Daniels to put Green Party nominees (which effectively would include Lendall) on the ballot. He also awarded costs and attorney fees to the plaintiffs.