Green Party considers suing Georgia over ballot access

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office announced earlier this week that Green Party candidate Jill Stein did not have enough signatures to appear on Georgia’s presidential ballot in November. Now, the Green Party says they will consider litigation.

The potential lawsuit stems from a March 2016 decision by a federal district judge that ruled Georgia ballot access laws for presidential candidates is unconstitutional. Until further changes could be made, Judge Richard Story set the threshold of signatures for candidates who were not Republicans or Democrats to 7,500.

Jill Stein filed paperwork with the Secretary of State offering 1,672 pages of signatures from Georgia voters. But the Georgia SOS returned with a letter reading, “Upon review . . . I hereby inform you that your total number of valid signatures submitted is 5,925, and . . . did not meet the requirement . . . Dr. Jill Stein will not appear on the ballot in the General Election”.

In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for the Green Party said,

“Our experience with this year’s petition drive illustrates many of issues we raised in our pleadings and testimony before Judge Story,” said Hugh Esco, cochair of the Georgia Green Party. “We are exploring multiple strategies for challenging this determination. Ultimately, in spite of the technical deficiencies used to justify this ruling, the Georgia Green Party far surpassed its burden to demonstrate a ‘modicum of support’ as required by the Courts; and the voters of Georgia have a constitutional right to see their candidates of choice on the printed ballot. We trust the Courts will agree.”

Ajamu Baraka was also denied access to Georgia’s ballot.

The hope is that the Georgia General Assembly will address the ruling in their 2017 legislative session.

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Pete Gibbons
Pete Gibbons

I am confused. If there federal judge put in place a number of 7,500 signatures and she only has 5,925 where would a lawsuit come from? Was it that there was an unrealistic number of signatures thrown out?

Loren
Loren

According to the AJC, state Green Party officials estimated that they’d submitted over 10,000 signatures.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/gen-politics/green-partys-jill-stein-nixed-georgias-presidentia/nsGtH/

Pete Gibbons
Pete Gibbons

Thank you for the clarification, Loren.

David C
David C

Yeah, though as with any petition drive, the number of signatures you get will often include phonies, duplicates, or people who aren’t registered voters, so you need to collect way more than the number because, when people start checking, you actually have way fewer valid ones than the ones on the page. In Nevada the Greens needed 5,431 and ‘submitted 8.500’ but the valid ones ended up being less than the number, so they’re suing there too. Basically, if you aren’t submitting more than 2 to 1 signatures to those needed in these sorts of drives, then when push comes… Read more »

augusta52
augusta52

Has a Green Party presidential candidate ever been on the ballot in Georgia? If so, I don’t recall such a time. I think Nader got a few thousand write-in votes back in 2000 here in Georgia. Seems like though, whether they get on the ballot here or not, the Greens will not get as many votes in Georgia as the Libertarian presidential candidate. And if Jill Stein gets on the ballot here (with the Greens), doubtless Democrats will get reminders of how costly a “Green vote” can be—just ask Al Gore, whose losses in Florida and New Hampshire in 2000… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

Another opportunity for me to mention Ranked Choice Voting.
Let’s say you want to vote for Jill Stein. You make her your first choice, then also pick a second choice, say, Hillary. Then when Jill gets eliminated your second choice gets counted.

There are no wasted votes, no “stealing” votes from another candidate, you can vote your heart and your head.

Not only that, candidates would tend to be less, ahem, belligerent as they would want to try to at least be someone’s second choice. It’s all good.

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

I like that idea. Although Bureaucratic heads would explode just trying to mange vote tallies, recounts and lawsuit over recounts.

Benevolus
Benevolus

My preference is to do it via Scantron ballots. That way you can count them with computers but you always have a paper ballot to fall back on.

Benevolus
Benevolus

If I were in charge, I would arrange a field trip to Scotland or Australia or Malta to see how they do it. 🙂

NoParty4Me
NoParty4Me

The Green Party propped up Cynthia McKinney as a 2008 Presidential candidate. Not sure if they were officially on the Georgia Ballot. That pretty much destroyed all Green Party credibility for me… forever.

Raleigh
Raleigh

1996 and 2000 I believe the Green Party was on the ballot with good old Ralph Nader, Unsafe at any political race fame, well that was speed not political race… sorry.