Georgia’s Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit against the state asking a judge to declare that the state’s ballot access laws conflict with the First Amendment and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which assures freedom of speech and due process respectively. The lawsuit also state’s law violates Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
Georgia requires third-party candidates to collect more signatures for congressional races to appear on the ballot than any other state in the country, according to the lawsuit. Thirty states require 10,000 or fewer signatures to run as a third-party for U.S. Congress. In Georgia, third-party candidates must collect 19,000 signatures or 5 percent of registered voters in each of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts to run for U.S. Congress.
The lawsuit states that five-percent petition requirement was enacted with the discriminatory purpose of preventing Communist Party candidates from appearing on Georgia’s ballots. The lawsuit further states that U.S. Congressman makes $174,000 a year and pay a qualifying fee of $5,200 whereas the Libertarian candidate for the same office would be required to pay a qualifying of $73,080 to fill an entire slate of candidates for the office of U.S. Representative in 2018.
In a previous case, a judge lowered the percentage in presidential elections to 1 percent of the state’s registered voters for an independent to be placed on the ballot.