407 S. Dearborn Street ♦ Suite 1170 ♦ Chicago, IL ♦ 60605
(312) 320-4101 ♦ FAX (866) 309-7803
Christina Tobin, Founder and Chair
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Free & Equal to file amicus brief in Georgia ballot access lawsuit
Since 1964, not even one third party or independent candidate has appeared on the Georgia ballot for U.S. House of Representatives. In the last 10 years, Georgia has been the only state to have no minor party or independent candidates on the ballot for the office.
Georgia law requires that new party and independent candidates submit a petition signed by 5% of the number of registered voters, in order to get on the ballot for any office that is not statewide (such as Governor).
Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans need collect no signatures whatsoever; they obtain access to the ballot by paying a filing fee. Independent candidates need to collect signatures and pay the filing fee.
On November 26, 2008, independent U.S House candidate Faye Coffield filed suit in U.S. District Court in Georgia, asking that the Georgia ballot access law for independent candidates for U.S. House of Representatives be declared unconstitutional. This case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Along with the Center for Competitive Democracy and the Coalition for Free and Open Elections (COFOE), The Free and Equal Elections Foundation will submit an amicus brief in the case, known as Coffield v Kemp, in favor of reducing the requirement for ballot access.
Several prior candidates for the office of Congress are expected to join the case via amicus. The briefs are due to be filed Monday, December 6th. Free & Equal will release more information as it becomes publicly available.
Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the politically marginalized and disenfranchised.