U.S. District Court Invalidates Georgia Petition Requirement for President, Imposes Temporary Standard of 7,500 Signatures

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.


U.S. District Court Invalidates Georgia Petition Requirement for President, Imposes Temporary Standard of 7,500 Signatures — 14 Comments

  1. Well, thanks to the judiciary for stepping in where the duopoly had foreclosed everyone but themselves from participating in our government. This kind of ruling is long overdue. Next, the federal government should legislate maximums, at least in federal elections, for all states and DC.

  2. AWESOME! Looks like Jill Stein will be on the ballot in Georgia this time. We managed to gather about 23k valid signatures here in Illinois in 2014, so her campaign and the Georgia Green Party ought to be able to get 7.5k for Georgia easily enough.

  3. Which District Court? This is huge and amazing news and I’m trying to find more information.

  4. Would this include opening up possibility of a Con/Green/IND run for other statewide offices?

  5. No, the decision only applies to president. But it will certainly be helpful if any lawsuits are filed against North Carolina and Texas and other states.

  6. ^ah, I was thinking the first thing I’d do if I was in Green or Constitution leadership would be get someone into PSC-2 race, no Democrat qualified so Its a 2-way between the Republican and Libertarian. (not that I’m complaining the Incumbent there has 2 primary challengers and a lot of people angry, I think the LP will do better than the 34% we pulled 4 years ago.)

  7. @Bill Kreml,

    Congress should require use of Top 2 for congressional elections, and the ballot access issue largely disappears.

  8. The evidence in the case, which is extensive, shows that a state’s population is not a relevant factor. Attempts to correlate the percentage of signatures with frequency of successful petitioning fails. But the correlation between the number of signatures and the number of successful petitions is very strong. DC has a 1% (of the number of registered voters) presidential petition and it has had up to 9 presidential candidates on the ballot. But the DC number that year was under 4,000.

    A job is a job. Getting 5,000 signatures is a job, and the population of the state is relatively unimportant.

  9. Richard, are you able to contact me about this case? I’m with the North Carolina GP, and we want to examine the case file and the arguments used. Thank you. Michael Trudeau: mdtrudeau@gmail.com

  10. “The evidence in the case, which is extensive, shows that a state‚Äôs population is not a relevant factor.” Congrats are in order to plaintiffs’ lawyers. The 11th circuit had remanded the case telling them to use the Anderson balancing test. First, they got their ducks in a row and showed a severe burden, triggering strict scrutiny. The court then said that even under a balancing test Plaintiffs win. The state just pounded on the table. The court relied heavily on the facts in the record as supplied by plaintiffs’ expert witness, Richard Winger. I am going to do a blog post on how the strategies used here could be used in voter ID cases, which also involve the Anderson balancing test.

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