On March 17, U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story, a Clinton appointee, ruled that the Georgia petition requirement for independent presidential candidates and the presidential candidates of unqualified parties is unconstitutional. The judge imposed a temporary requirement of 7,500 signatures for 2016 only, until the legislature acts. The old law required approximately 50,334 signatures. The case is Green Party of Georgia v Kemp, n.d., 1:12cv-1822. The decision is 80 pages.
The decision only applies to the candidate petition for president. However, in Georgia, candidate petitions can include a ballot label other than just “independent”, so in effect the decision includes minor parties as well as independent candidates.
The plaintiffs, the Green Party and the Constitution Party, filed this lawsuit in 2012. The state says it will probably appeal, but it will not try to obtain a stay.