The Libertarian Party of Tennessee Ballot Access Drive

Libertarian Party of Tennessee is working on ballot access for 2018 and beyond.  Allowing Libertarian candidates to be labeled as “Libertarians” instead of “independents” will give voters more information on Election Day. Download Tennessee Presidential Election Facts to help you explain ballot access to voters.  


The law requires an alternative political party to submit petitions bearing the number of signatures equal to 2.5% of the votes cast in the last election for governor.  Based on the 2014 election for governor, the number of signatures required for the Libertarian Party to be recognized in Tennessee is 33,844 VALID signatures of registered voters in Tennessee.  To be valid, all the information on the petition must match the information in the voter’s voter registration record.   Generally, petition drives collect twice the number of required signatures to ensure they have the required number of signatures after invalid signatures are excluded.  We want to collect 67,688 signatures.

Oklahoma Signatures

Oklahoma Libertarians submitting about 40,000 singnatures for ballot access 

When the Libertarian Party of Tennessee gains ballot access, our candidates will be able to appear on the ballot as Libertarians.  Currently Libertarian candidates appear on the ballot as independent candidates.  Tennessee makes it very easy for independent candidates (25 signatures for most offices and 275 signatures for President of the United States) to appear on the ballot.  About 91% of independent Presidential candidates appearing on the ballot in Tennessee since 1961, have actually been the nominees of an alternative political party. 


You should download and use this petition.  They were authorized by attorneys in the Secretary of State’s office.  

You should only collect signatures from ONE county on each page.

Since we need to collect 33,844 VALID signatures we ask that you consider using the GoVoteTN App to confirm signatures.  The app is available in the App Store and the Google Play Store.  You may also download the App.   

Since we need to collect 33,844 VALID signatures we ask that you please fill in all the spaces on a petition page.  While we appreciate every signature collected.  We really need fully completed forms to reach our goal.   

You may mail completed petitions to:

Terry Rowe 

113 Big Springs Circle

Cookeville, TN 38501

Please call 615-922-8200 if you have any questions. 


In 1796 the Tennessee Legislature passed the state's first election law and defined a ballot as “ticket or scroll of paper” that voters brought to the polling place on the day of the election to be deposited in the ballot box (Public Acts of Tennessee, 1796, Chapter IX, Section 2).  Prior to 1831, political parties did not really exist in Tennessee.  Political races were more sectional and factional.  

Hand Written Ballot

An early American hand-written ballot

Starting in 1831, political parties began distributing ballots to voters that contained a list of the party’s candidates.  Voters took these party ballots to the polls on Election Day and deposited them in the ballot box.  

Party Ballot

A ballot from the Constitution Union Party for the Presidential election of 1860

In 1890 the Tennessee Legislature passed four disenfranchisement laws.  Among these was the Dortch Ballot law that authorized the State of Tennessee to start printing ballots (Public Acts of Tennessee, 1890, Chapter 24).  The Dortch Ballot law adopted what is known as the Australian ballot.  Australian ballot is also called secret ballot, It is the system of voting in which voters mark their choices in privacy on uniform ballots printed and distributed by the government or designate their choices by some other secret means. Victoria and South Australia were the first states to introduce secrecy of the ballot (1856), and for that reason the secret ballot is referred to as the Australian ballot.

Between 1831 and 1960 about 40 political parties appeared on the ballot in Tennessee.  Most of these parties of these only lasted for a short while.  During the 1950s a number of county election commissions challenged the placing of candidates from certain parties on the ballot in Tennessee.  Perhaps most notable of these attempts to keep the nominee of a party off the ballot in Tennessee was the case of perennial candidate Porter Freeman running for the State Supreme Court in 1960.  This case [Freeman v. Felts 344 S.W.2d 550 (1961)] went to the Tennessee Supreme Court.  

Porter Freeman

Porter Freeman 


In 1961 the Tennessee Legislature officially defined a political party (Public Acts of Tennessee of 1961, Chapter 102).  A letter from Attorney General George McCanless to Earnest Taylor, secretary of the Hamblen County election commission about Porter Freeman being placed on the ballot was cited in the 1961 floor debate on House Bill 287 (Public Acts of Tennessee of 1961, Chapter 102) as a justification for having the States of Tennessee more specifically define what a political party is.  The intent of the law was to keep new political parties off the ballot in Tennessee.  Ballot access rules regulate the conditions under which a candidate or political party is entitled either to stand for election or to appear on voters' ballots. Please contac LPTN Ballot access coordinator:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. wirh any questions.  

This site is paid for by the 

Libertarian Party of Tennessee 

P.O. Box 24085, Nashville, TN 37202


Not authorized by any candidate 

or candidate's committee

Privacy Polciy

Contact Us

Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

This site is dedicated to the memory of former Libertarian Party of Tennessee State Chair, Richard E. Pearl, Sr., Ed.D.