Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tennessee Libertarians must run as independents

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate talks ballot access | Candidate2018 | citizentribune.com - John Gullion, Morristown Citizen Tribune:

August 20, 2018 - "Vinnie Vineyard is a lot of things. Professional wrestler... Musician. Owner/operator of a small taxi cab business. What Vineyard is not, is a political independent but that’s the only description of him voters will get when they make their choice for Tennessee governor this November.

"Vineyard is a Libertarian, a philosophy that can basically be summed up by the idea that an action should be legal as long as it doesn’t harm others directly. 'We’re anti-crony capitalism. We don’t like corporations running the country,' he explained. 'We like smaller government. We think people should govern their own bodies ... healthcare needs to be opened up to the free market ... and pro-medical marijuana....'

"It’s a lot of information carried by a single word, but unless they’ve heard of him through his grassroots campaign, voters across the state will have no idea about Vineyard’s party affiliation.... And that’s the issue Vineyard and other Libertarian 'independents' across the state are trying to raise: Ballot access.

"In Tennessee, it is significantly easier to get on the statewide ballot as a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent than as a Libertarian or a member of the Green Party. Republicans, Democrats or independents only need 25 signatures on their petition to qualify for the ballot. To be listed as a Libertarian or Green Party member, the party itself would have to qualify as a 'minor' political party and the number of signatures required for that is nearly 40,000....

"'They want to limit Tennesseans choices, want to limit competition,' Vineyard said. 'Withholding that right to be identified hurts the voter, takes away their freedom and limits their choices'....

"And the labels are important, he said. When a voter goes to the ballot box, even if they know little about the individual they’re casting their ballot for, they know generically what a Republican believes, what a Democrat believes. Independent, however, carries no such brand recognition....

"While Vineyard knows improving ballot access won’t lead to a Libertarian wave this November, he did note that four Libertarian candidates won offices in the state in August and that he received more votes in the Republican Primary, in which he wasn’t running, than ... a longtime Republican who has run several long-shot campaigns for state and national office.

“'It’s planting seeds. There’s a new way to think, there’s not just two ways to think …,' he said. 'You don’t have to be assigned to one of two camps. I don’t like either one of them. They’re both terrible. They’re both full of hypocrisy and lies.'"

Read more: https://www.citizentribune.com/news/candidate2018/libertarian-gubernatorial-candidate-talks-ballot-access/article_758f34b2-a48f-11e8-8d17-ef0a994cb0fe.html
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