Amicus brief filed in Supreme Court for Georgia ballot access lawsuit

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Amicus brief filed in Supreme Court for Georgia ballot access lawsuit

The Free and Equal Elections Foundation filed an amicus brief yesterday in Coffield v Kemp, along with the Center for Competitive Democracy and the Coalition for Free and Open Elections (COFOE). You can read the amicus brief here.

In the suit, 2008 independent Congressional 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. For more information please read this article on Free & Equal’s website.

Past candidates Jeff Anderson, Brad Ploeger and Mary Norwood are mentioned in the amicus brief, along with others who attempted to fulfill Georgia’s unreasonable and discriminatory requirements for independent candidates. In response to the amicus filing they had this to say:

Anderson, an independent candidate for U.S. House in Georgia’s 11th district, said: “I fully endorse the corrective effort that is represented by the Coffield case and support the amicus filing by Free and Equal and others. It is most noteworthy that a broad group of dedicated Americans has, without any consideration or comparison of their individual political ideologies, joined together here to challenge something that should be of deep concern to every citizen – the direct and intentional denial of their representative right to run for office and to vote fairly.”

Norwood is a former Atlanta City Council member who was denied access to the ballot as an independent candidate for Chair of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Said Norwood, “Georgia’s Ballot Access rules make the task of running as an independent a herculean task and one that is virtually impossible. As a seasoned candidate who has run in three nonpartisan citywide races, I was prepared to mobilize volunteers; raise funds; and conduct a campaign. However, the task of collecting valid signatures of 5% of the registered voters of the county required more in resources than I could have imagined.”

Ploeger sought to run as a Libertarian Party candidate for the Georgia State House. He was the only minor party nominee to bother trying after so many years of being locked out of the democratic process. In response to the filing, he said: “Georgia’s Ballot Access rules present a de-facto bar to participation by Independent and Third-Party candidates in the political process. These rules represent an infringement on the civil rights of all Georgians to select their elected representatives.”

Free & Equal supports all those in Georgia for whom the promise of democracy is denied, and will release further information as events develop.


Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the politically marginalized and disenfranchised.