Federal court revives Green, Constitution parties’ ballot access case

Matthew Carinale reports via Atlanta Progressive News that the 11th District Court of Appeals will review a case pushed by the Green and Constitution parties dealing with Georgia’s onerous ballot access statues:

The Green Party of Georgia and the Constitution Party of Georgia have secured what is so far an important procedural victory in a federal lawsuit regarding Georgia’s oppressive petition requirements for Presidential candidates who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

On Monday, January 06, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, noting that the case should not have been dismissed by Judge Story.

Judge Story had dismissed the case challenging the one percent requirement for Presidential candidates on the basis that–as previously reported by APN–prior court rulings have upheld Georgia’s five percent requirement for non-statewide races. Story had ruled that if five percent were allowable, then one percent must be allowable.

However, the plaintiffs argued, and the federal court agreed, that ballot access requirements are measured by a different standard for Presidential Elections because the interest of the State of Georgia does not weigh so heavily in Presidential Elections.

“A state’s interest in regulating a presidential election is less important than its interest in regulating other elections because the outcome of a presidential election ‘will be largely determined by voters beyond the State’s boundaries’ and ‘the pervasive national interest in the selection of candidates for national office . . . is greater than any interest of an individual State,’” the Court of Appeals wrote.

“Consequently, a ballot access restriction for presidential elections ‘requires a different balance’ than a restriction for state elections,” the Court of Appeals wrote.

Georgia has the most restrictive ballot access law in the country, according to PolitiFact. Despite efforts to reform relevant statues in recent years, the legislature hasn’t moved forward on any of the proposals.


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