Memo to Glenn Richardson: Fix our Ballot Access Laws

Many of you know about my flirtation with running for Congress against Cynthia McKinney. I have had many people ask me why I have decided against it.

It it impossible.

Let me explain. Cynthia McKinney isn’t unbeatable. In fact, she should be easy to defeat since she has long been one of the most ineffective members of Congress. It is hard to see how any representative could get re-elected by constantly ignoring their constituents.

Yet most would agree that the 4th District is a firmly entrenched Democratic district. It doesn’t take a lot of investigation to see that a Republican would never have a chance in the 4th District. Which is why for years we have seen lackluster Republican candidates in the 4th District that would never make it past the primary in a competitive district.

Of course many Republicans are happy with the situation in the 4th District. Cynthia McKinney provides the perfect foil to run against on a national level. She is example #1 of the madness and loony-ness of the Democratic party. I can appreciate this perspective.

Except for the fact that I live in the 4th District. Myself and others deserve representation.

I was determined to do something about this. Realizing that a Republican has absolutely zero chance in the 4th District, I decided to run against McKinney as an Independent. Until I realized that Georgia has banned Independents from the ballot.

I realize that by the letter of the law this isn’t true. But by the spirit of the law it is.

Currently in Georgia, it requires nothing more than a fee to get on the ballot for the Republican and Democratic primaries. Not a single signature is required. Yet I discovered that to get on the ballot for the general election in a Congressional race would require close to 30,000 signatures. Let me repeat: 30,000 signatures. Now technically the actual number is closer to 15,000. But anyone undertaking such an effort would need to collect close to double the required amount. And the signatures have to be collected on approved forms that would equal hundreds of sheets of paper, each having to be notarized.

It is no wonder then that an Independent has not been on the general ballot here in Georgia for a Congressional race since 1943.

Since discovering that there would be no way for me to run against Cynthia McKinney as an Independent, I have spent a lot of time determing how to change our byzantine laws here in Georgia. Many attempts have been made over the years to change the ballot access laws in Georgia to no avail. During the past state legislative session, HB 927 was introduced to lower the signature requirements. I have spoken with three of the co-sponsors of this bill to determine how to get some action and get it passed. State Rep. Bobby Franklin was kind enough to call me back and talk with me about this bill at length.

When I asked Bobby what it would take to get this bill passed, he said that if I could get Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson behind it, that we could get it passed.

Well, that is what I am asking for now. I have tried contacting Glenn at his office to set up a meeting to discuss this issue to no avail. I am hoping that I can get Glenn’s attention to set up a meeting for 30 minutes to discuss this issue and explain how this bill would be beneficial to him. I can be contacted at [email protected].

5 comments

  1. Eddie T says:

    If you can’t get 15,000…or 30,000 signatures to place you on the ballot…why would you even think you could be competitive against McKinney in the general?

  2. bird says:

    Many people in Dekalb will not want to vote for a Republican or McKinney. If I lived in Dekalb, I would fall squarely in that category. I would be curious as to which party the independent candidate would align themselves with when selecting a speaker, but I imagine that is not a concern for a lot of voters.

    The procedure is so onerous that a campaign must waste a significant amount of resources (money, the candidate’s time, volunteer time, etc.) that would be better spent in conveying the candidates positions. Georgia’s ballot access laws are designed to keep the parties in power just that, the parties in power.

  3. Joe Magyer says:

    “If you can’t get 15,000…or 30,000 signatures to place you on the ballot…why would you even think you could be competitive against McKinney in the general?”

    Based on this statement, I am 99.99% sure that you have never petitioned to get a candidate on the ballot in the state of Georgia. It is a grueling process that involves an incredible number of man hours. 15,000 signatures would require a small army of highly dedicated volunteers.

    On the bright side, I am glad to see a Republican who is making genuine steps towards fighting these liberty-repressing laws.

  4. Dignan says:

    Eddie: based upon your rationale, many Republicans and Democrats would never get on the ballot. It is far more difficult to get signatures than votes. There is no comparison. In 2002, the number of votes that the Republican in the 4th District received was close to the number of signatures required.

    My question to you would be why should Democrats and Republicans be treated differently from Independents.

  5. Loren says:

    Many people in Dekalb will not want to vote for a Republican or McKinney. If I lived in Dekalb, I would fall squarely in that category.

    For those who do live in DeKalb and feel similarly, they can always vote Bull Moose.

    *I’m Loren Collins, and I approved this message.

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