By Josh Brown | The Tennessean
Tennessee Green Party candidates for public office will have to wait more than three weeks before their names will appear on the state's elections website.
State officials do not plan to publish the official list of candidates for the November election until Aug. 30, state elections director Mark Goins said Tuesday.
That's when Goins' office is required by state law to finalize and announce results from Tennessee's recent primary elections, he said.
"Their names will be there unless the court tells us otherwise," Goins said.
A federal judge earlier this year ruled that members of third parties have a right to appear on the ballot, identified by their party, as opposed to being included in the listing of independent candidates.
The state has appealed that decision, and a federal appeals court has yet to rule on the issue.
"There's a decent chance that we'll know by Aug. 30," Goins said.
If not, the state plans to include a reference to the pending appeal, noting that Green Party candidates could be removed from the ballot if the original ruling is overturned.
In recent days, candidates from the Green Party have been raising concerns that state officials were dragging their feet on updating the lists of candidates on the elections website.
As of Tuesday, only Republican, Democratic and independent candidates were named.
"This has really hurt our candidates," said John Miglietta, who is running as a Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 5th District. Candidates from the party have been missing out on candidate forums and being mentioned in lists of individuals who will be on the ballot this fall, he said.
"It reduces us to calling people up and basically saying, 'Hey, we're running for office,' " said Miglietta, who is also a political science professor at Tennessee State University. "I think it puts an undue burden on us."
Goins said that unofficial list was published in April. The Green Party, a left-leaning organization committed to environmentalism and social justice, submitted its list of 12 candidates for Congress and the General Assembly in May.
The elections website also caused a little more confusion by calling it the "official list of candidates" for the 2012 election on one page but referring to it as an unofficial list on a different page.
State officials plan to change the wording on the website, Goins said.
Katey Culver, the co-chair of Green Party of Tennessee, said the legal battle over whether third parties will be listed on the ballot his fall has cast doubt on the campaigns of the party's candidates.
"If we lose this lawsuit, we will not have any candidates because it's too late to get our candidates on as independents," Culver said. "That's why some of our candidates haven't been as active in their campaigns because they still aren't sure whether they'll be on the ballot."