2010 Tennessee Code
Title 2 - Elections
Chapter 5 - Ballots and Supplies
Part 1 - Petitions
2-5-101 - Time for filing Required signatures Failure to file Filing office hours Prohibited acts Death or late withdrawal of candidates.

2-5-101. Time for filing Required signatures Failure to file Filing office hours Prohibited acts Death or late withdrawal of candidates.

(a)  Candidates shall qualify by filing all nominating petitions, including any duplicate nominating petitions, by the deadlines set out in the schedule in this section. The qualifying deadline for any office not included in this section shall be twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the third Thursday in the third calendar month before the election.

     (1)  Independent and primary candidates for any office to be filled at the regular November election for which a primary is required to be held at the regular August election shall qualify by filing such candidates' nominating petitions no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the first Thursday in April.

     (2)  Independent and primary candidates for any office to be filled in a regular August general election for which a May primary has been called under § 2-13-203 shall qualify by filing their petitions for the August election no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the third Thursday in February. In the event no May primary authorized under § 2-13-203 is called for any office to be filled in the regular August general election, then the candidates shall qualify by filing their petitions no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the first Thursday in April. In presidential election years, if a political party calls for the county primary in February, the qualifying deadline for candidates in the primary and independent candidates for those offices shall be twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the first Thursday in November. Independent candidates for offices which will appear on the county primary ballot shall qualify by filing their petitions at the same time primary candidates qualify.

     (3)  Candidates in municipal elections held in conjunction with the regular August election shall file their nominating petitions no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the first Thursday in April. Candidates in all other municipal elections shall file their nominating petitions no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the third Thursday in the third calendar month before the election.

     (4)  In counties having a population in excess of six hundred thousand (600,000), according to the federal census of 1970 or any subsequent census, candidates in municipal elections will file their nominating petitions in accordance with time and date as prescribed for the August primary and November general election. When a special election is being held in conjunction with either a municipal August primary or November general election, the time of qualifying for candidates to the office for which the special election is being held shall conform and be governed by the same time and the same date prescribed for the municipal August primary or November general election; but in no way shall the time for qualifying specified by this subdivision (a)(4) be less than the qualifying time prescribed for the special election.

(b)  (1)  Nominating petitions shall be signed by the candidate and twenty-five (25) or more registered voters who are eligible to vote to fill the office. Nominating petitions for independent presidential candidates shall be signed by the candidate and twenty-five (25) or more registered voters for each elector allocated to the state. Each independent candidate must designate the full number of electors allocated to the state.

     (2)  The signer of a petition must include the address of the signer's residence as shown on the signer's voter registration card in order for that person's signature to be counted. In the event that the signer of a petition includes information on a nominating petition that exceeds the information contained on such person's voter registration card, the signature shall be counted if there is no conflict between the nominating petition and the voter registration card. If no street address is shown on the signer's voter registration card, that person's signature and address as shown on the voter registration card shall be sufficient. A street address shall be sufficient, and no apartment number shall be required.

     (3)  A person's regular signature shall be accepted just as the person's legal signature would be accepted. For example, for the purposes of this subsection (b), “Joe Public” shall be accepted just as “Joseph Q. Public” would be accepted.

(c)  If a candidate does not file by the deadline specified in this section, or fails to file any duplicate petition required by § 2-5-104 by the deadline specified in this section, or the candidate's petition does not contain the signatures and residential addresses of twenty-five (25) or more registered voters eligible to vote to fill the office, the candidate's name shall not be printed on any official ballot for the election.

(d)  Offices in which petitions are to be filed shall be open until four o'clock (4:00 p.m.) prevailing time on the final day of any qualifying period.

(e)  The name of any candidate nominated by any political party by any method other than a primary election, for any office to be filled in a regular August election for which a March or May primary has been called under § 2-13-203 shall be certified by the party executive committee to the county election commission or county administrator of elections by the qualifying deadline for the respective primary as provided for elsewhere in this section. If no primary is held, party nominees shall be certified no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the first Thursday in April.

(f)  (1)  It is unlawful for any person to qualify as a candidate in a primary election with more than one (1) political party in which such person seeks the same office.

     (2)  It is unlawful for any person to qualify as an independent candidate and as a primary candidate for the same office in the same year.

     (3)  No person defeated in a primary election, or party caucus in any county having a population of not less than twenty-seven thousand five hundred (27,500) nor more than twenty-seven thousand seven hundred fifty (27,750), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, shall qualify as an independent for the general election.

     (4)  No candidate in a party primary election, or party caucus in any county having a population of not less than twenty-seven thousand five hundred (27,500) nor more than twenty-seven thousand seven hundred fifty (27,750), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, may appear on the ballot in a general election as the nominee of a different political party, or as an independent.

     (5)  No candidate, whether independent or represented by a political party, may be permitted to submit and have accepted by any election commission, more than one (1) qualifying petition, or otherwise qualify and be nominated, or have such candidate's name anywhere appear on any ballot for any election or primary, wherein such candidate is attempting to be qualified for and nominated or elected to more than one (1) state office as described in either § 2-13-202(1) or (2) or in article VI of the Constitution of Tennessee or more than one (1) constitutional county office described in article VII, § 1 of the Constitution of Tennessee or any other county-wide office, voted on by voters during any primary or general election.

     (6)  It is unlawful for a person to qualify as a candidate for any election if such person has failed to file any required report for which a civil penalty has been imposed under chapter 10 of this title.

(g)  (1)  If a candidate in a primary election or nonpartisan general election, after the qualifying deadline:

          (A)  Dies;

          (B)  Withdraws because of military call up;

          (C)  Withdraws because of physical or mental disability, such physical or mental disability being properly documented by competent medical authority;

          (D)  Withdraws because such candidate is forced to change residence by the candidate's employer for a job-related reason; or

          (E)  Is declared ineligible or disqualified by a court or disqualified by the political party executive committee under § 2-5-204;

leaving no candidates for nomination or office, additional candidates may qualify for the election or that nomination by filing their petitions as provided by law no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time on the fortieth day before the election. If any of these events occur within ten (10) days of the fortieth day, the qualifying deadline shall be twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time on the tenth day following the death or withdrawal.

     (2)  Candidates may withdraw for reasons other than those listed in subdivision (g)(1); however, no additional candidates may qualify.

(h)  The provisions of this section, as amended by Acts 1991, ch. 153, shall not apply to any elections held in 1991 in any county. Elections for or in such county for 1991 shall be held in accordance with the law as it existed prior to the enactment of Acts 1991, ch. 153.

(i)  (1)  This subsection (i) shall be known and may be cited as the “Anti-Skullduggery Act of 1991.”

     (2)  Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, additional candidates may qualify for an office by qualifying as provided by law no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the seventh day after the original withdrawal deadline, if an incumbent of such office is a candidate for a primary or a nonpartisan general election and if such incumbent dies or properly withdraws on the last day for qualifying or prior to twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the seventh day after the qualifying deadline.

     (3)  If an incumbent withdraws during the period specified in subdivision (i)(2), the provisions of this subsection (i) shall operate to:

          (A)  Extend the period to qualify for the primary election of each political party holding a primary for that office;

          (B)  Extend the period during which a political party that would have been authorized by law to nominate a candidate for the office by a means other than primary election, but did not do so prior to the withdrawal of the incumbent; and

          (C)  Extend the period a person may qualify for a nonpartisan general election.

     (4)  Any request to withdraw by such additional candidates shall be filed no later than twelve o'clock (12:00) noon, prevailing time, on the fourth day after the new qualifying deadline.

[Acts 1972, ch. 740, § 1; 1973, ch. 106, §§ 1, 2; 1973, ch. 160, § 1; 1974, ch. 660, § 1; 1974, ch. 731, § 1; 1975, ch. 26, § 1; 1975, ch. 83, § 1; 1977, ch. 47, § 1; 1978, ch. 940, § 1; 1979, ch. 115, § 1; 1979, ch. 136, § 1; 1979, ch. 306, § 15; T.C.A., §§ 2-505, 2-511(c); Acts 1981, ch. 382, § 1; 1981, ch. 385, § 3; 1981, ch. 478, §§ 12, 13; 1982, ch. 871, §§ 4, 5; 1982, ch. 894, § 1; 1983, ch. 266, § 1; 1985, ch. 81, § 1; 1986, ch. 562, § 20; 1988, ch. 516, § 1; 1988, ch. 933, §§ 5, 6, 13; 1989, ch. 128, §§ 1, 3; 1989, ch. 247, § 1; 1989, ch. 590, §§ 7-9; 1990, ch. 628, § 3; 1991, ch. 153, §§ 1-6; 1991, ch. 373, § 3; 1991, ch. 414, §§ 1, 2; 1994, ch. 771, §§ 1-3; 1995, ch. 87, §§ 1, 2; 1999, ch. 6, §§ 1, 2; 1999, ch. 208, §§ 1, 2; 2000, ch. 756, § 8; 2001, ch. 199, §§ 1, 2; 2003, ch. 374, § 13; 2004, ch. 480, § 4; 2008, ch. 618, § 1.]  

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