Georgia Libertarians on Ballot in Special State Senate Election

Georgia is holding a special election on January 5, 2010, to fill the vacant State Senate seat, 22nd district. Because it is a special election, all candidates may qualify without a petition, and parties don’t have nominees. However, the party label of each candidate is printed on the ballot. The candidates are a Libertarian, Taylor Bryant, and three Democrats (Hardie Davis, Harold Jones, and Sandra Scott).

This will be only the third time that any minor party candidate for State Senate has appeared on the ballot in a Georgia State Senate election, with the party label, in the last 67 years. There was also a Libertarian on the ballot for State Senate in 2002, Todd King; and a Libertarian on the ballot for State Senate in 1992, Larry Bolin. Other than that, there have been no minor party candidates for that office with the party label. This is because the petition hurdle, 5% of the number of registered voters, is virtually prohibitive in regular elections. And in special elections, it is only in the last few years that Georgia has permitted party labels.

In the November 2008 election for State Senate in the 22nd district, the vote had been: Democratic 79.5%; Republican 20.5%. The district is centered on Augusta.

Republicans and Democrats never need to petition in Georgia, because those two parties always poll over 20% of the vote for Governor, as well as polling 20% for President in the entire U.S. The law gives automatic ballot access for all offices to parties that meet either of those 20% hurdles. Libertarians must petition for legislative seats in regular elections, even though the party is on the ballot automatically for all statewide races, under a separate law that lets parties be on the ballot for statewide offices if they polled approximately 2% of the vote for any statewide race in the last election.


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Georgia Libertarians on Ballot in Special State Senate Election — 4 Comments

  1. I ran as the Citizens Party nominee in a State House seat race in 1982 in Athens GA. I was the only challenger to Bob Argo, the Governor’s Assistant Floor Leader, as the Republican Party opted to run no one against him. The Equal Rights Amendment, which Argo opposed, was a part of the reason I was able to poll close to 18%.

    If memory serves me well, I too had to gather 5% signatures, and the bulk of these signatures were gathered by my wife and me, and she was pregnant at the time with our first daughter.

    Perhaps the 5% requirement is new, or did not apply to House seats. I honestly can’t remember.

  2. Greetings All,

    Congratulations to Libertarian Taylor Bryant for throwing his hat in the ring for the impending Special Election in Georgia’s State Senate District 22 contest. The election will be held on 5 JAN 2010 and turn out can be expected to be low. In 2008 about 54,000 voters cast their ballots in the race that returned Senator Tarver to office in a landslide. What is truly interesting is the fact that Senator Tarver (D) won his first election in the 22nd as a result of a special election that was held after the democrat incumbent was sent to jail for tax evasion, mail fraud and conspiracy. In that special election, Senator Tarver won the day with 8,075 votes.

    Taylor Bryant has a real chance of success in this race. As is typical of Libertarian efforts here in Georgia, Mr. Bryant is underfunded and under staffed and needs what ever support you can offer. We’ll be following this contest closely over at Bludgeon & Skewer because we think it will be a bell weather for our efforts in the other special elections soon to be held in Georgia.

    State Senate District 42 will have one as soon as congress confirms Bundlin’ Dave Adelman as the new ambassador to Singapore and State House District 19 will have one as soon as Speaker Richardson resigns his office on 1 JAN 2010.

    These Special Elections offer the Georgia Libertarian Party and other third party candidates a tremendous opportunity to compete in state level elections we are normally frozen out of due to our fair states Draconian 1943 Jim Crow Ballot Access Laws. It is important to note that the requirements for qualifying for these races are that the candidate be 25 years of age, has resided in the district for at least 12 months and can pony up the $400 filing fee. That’s it.

    Good to see the story at Ballot Access News!

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