Court denies stay of ruling on Tenn. 3rd parties

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled that the state may not enforce several rules that minor political parties claim are roadblocks to getting their candidates on the ballot.

State law says a minor political party must collect 40,000 signatures by April 5 to get its name on the ballot in 2012. In July, the state's Green Party and Constitution Party sued, claiming those requirements and several others were unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. ruled in favor of the minor parties in February. The state appealed to the Sixth Circuit and asked for a stay of the judgment until that appeal was heard.

On Friday, Judge Haynes denied the stay.

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