Source: Ballot Access News
In early 2011, Georgia Secretary of State Brian P. Kemp established an Elections Advisory Council to suggest improvements in Georgia election laws. The Council held public hearings during the spring and early summer of 2011. Members of the public attended these hearings and the issue of ballot access laws came up more often than any other issue. The Council still hasn’t issued its recommendations.
It may be fortunate that the Council is still weighing its ideas. The Virginia presidential primary ballot access controversy has garnered more attention for ballot access than any other news story in decades.
Georgia has a terrible set of ballot access laws, but most people in Georgia aren’t aware of that. In 1943, Georgia went from having extremely easy ballot access to having very difficult ballot access. The laws were made even worse in 1964. Since the 1964 revisions, no one has complied with the 5% petition requirement to get on the ballot for U.S. House, and even in the period 1943-1964, no minor party candidates qualified, although during the 1943-1964 period some independent candidates did qualify.
Georgia newspapers have never educated their readers about this record. Georgia did improve ballot access for statewide office only, in 1979 and again in 1986. But even for statewide office, Georgia has among the most severe requirements. Georgia is one of only four states in which Ralph Nader was never able to qualify for the ballot. The others were Oklahoma, Indiana, and North Carolina. Nader is the person who placed third in 2000, 2004, and 2008. When the presidential candidate who places third consistently can’t get on the ballot, something is wrong.
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