12 February 2019

[Staff Report] - Libertarian Party of Georgia Seeks Support for Ballot Access House Bill 191

State Libertarian Party Building Consensus & Support for Expanding Ballot Access in Georgia; Current Bill in the Gold Dome has Four Sponsors

Atlanta, GA - The Libertarian Party of Georgia has drafted and worked with representatives to officially file a bill aimed at reforming the state's ballot access laws for third and independent parties. Georgia’s laws governing who may appear on election ballots are among the worst in the nation. Republicans and Democrats appear on ballots almost automatically, while independent and minor-party candidates must collect thousands of signatures, petition the state, and pay dearly to earn that access.
To protect Georgian’s rights to have competitive, fair, and free elections, the  bill recommends reducing the number of petition signatures candidates need to be on the ballot, and would give “state registered political bodies” (minor parties) the ability to offer choices to voters without the permission of the two major parties.
In 2016, all 180 members of the Georgia House were up for re-election, but 82% of those members did not have a challenger in the general election. A single-candidate, single party race is not choice, it’s tyranny. Nearly all incumbents who were challenged kept their seats. No third-party candidate in Georgiahas ever cleared the restrictions to appear on the ballot for the U.S. House since Georgia restricted ballot access in  1943,. Georgia also leads the nation in unopposed races, an unwelcome distinction for a state still recovering from a history of election abuses.
Political favoritism and exclusion enshrined in law is an embarrassment, hindering Georgia’s progress and political discourse. 33% of Georgians identify as a Republican and 22% identify as Democrat. The remaining plurality of voters, identify as Independents or belong to a “minor” party.  In other words nearly half of Georgia voters[would?] support candidates who are blocked from appearing on Georgia ballots.
The Libertarian Party of Georgia is offering a solution to Georgia's restricted ballot access laws. Representatives sponsoring the bill include: Dar'shun Kendrick (93rd), David Stover (71st), Valencia Stovall (74th), and Vernon Jones (91st). If passed, ballot access provisions will level the playing field by allowing independents, Greens, Libertarians, and other issue-oriented political bodies the same advantages enjoyed by Republicans and Democrats. You are encouraged to contact your legislative representative and implore them to support House Bill 191 and the proposed protections for Georgia elections. To find out who your representatives are visit this WEBSITE. For more detail on the Libertarian-led coalition to reform ballot access, see this recent news report.

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