Monday, March 5, 2018

Georgia Ballot Access Bills Die

Ballot Access News

The Georgia legislative deadline for bills in the 2017-2018 session to pass one house passed on February 28, and neither of the bills to improve ballot access met that deadline. HB 133 would have reduced the number of signtures for most offices. SB 112 would have eliminated mandatory petitions for all candidates. Neither of them made any headway.

Not only that, no bill was introduced to acknowledge that in early 2017, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the U.S. District Court that the number of signatures for president is unconstitutional. Until the legislature does something about that, the court order setting the petition at 7,500 signatures remains in effect.

The Libertarian Party lawsuit against the number of signatures needed for U.S. House candidates is in U.S. District Court, in the evidence-gathering phase.

BAN did not know that in 2017, the Georgia legislature made ballot access worse. HB 268, signed into law on May 9, 2017, moved the deadline for petitioning candidates to file their notice of candidacy and filing fee from June to the first week in March. The law does not affect candidates for presidential elector, though. Thanks to Hugh Esco for this news. The vote in the Senate was 32-18; in the House it was 111-57. Similar laws, requiring candidates to file a declaration of candidacy early in the year, have been declared unconstitutional in South Carolina (Cromer v State) and West Virginia (Daly v Tennant).

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