Sunday, July 18, 2010

Georgia Independents, Go Away!

What Mary Norwood did, virtually single-handed should serve as a wake-up call to all Georgians to join Common Cause. Collecting more than 10,000 signatures by hand (not email) is a feat most of us would never attempt even our dreams.
Georgia law requires that for an independent to gain access to the ballot, they must have 10,000 verifiable Georgia residents. Without them, we are left with only a Republican or a Democrat to choose from.
After this super-human effort, the state elections board decided to turn DOWN her application because she filed at 4:00pm instead of 12noon. Never mind that her campaign manager just was diagnosed with breast cancer. The state elections board does not consider life-threatening illness a valid reason for missing a deadline.
Common Cause has been fighting for fair ballot access for years without success, and this incredible miscarriage of justice, proves just how bad it really is.
If you want bad government, come to Georgia. If you want extreme candidates on the right or left, come to Georgia. If you want closed-door meetings and wild-west ethics by legislators, Georgia is your home state, baby.
Ms. Norwood would be well-served to take her thoughtful, intelligent positions and move out, because you don't count for s**t here if you aren't a R or D. Sad.

1 comment:

  1. Mary Norwood's challenge is a good example of the larger ballot access problem in Georgia. We are one of the toughest states in the US to get on the ballot if you are not a Dem. or a Rep.

    Casualties of the "Independent route" in 2010 also include Gubernatorial hopeful Ray Boyd, who refused to sign the loyalty oath of the Republican Party, and incumbent School Super Brad Bryant, whose interim appointment came too late for him to qualify as a Republican.

    The challenge in Georgia is twofold: The number of signatures needed, and the arcane, confusing, inconsistently-administered process of getting the signatures gathered and delivered for certification. Norwood probably had the more than 20,000 signatures needed to qualify to run in Fulton County. What tripped her up was delivering the check for the filing fee at 4 pm instead of noon on the deadline day. Both Boyd and Bryant threw in the towel when they realized how hard it was to get the 50,000 plus signatures needed to run statewide as an independent.

    Common Cause supports ballot access reform now. Certainly, some reasonable hurdle to getting on the ballot is in order to avoid a chaotic horde of candidates, but our laws are way too restrictive and clearly discriminate against independent and 3rd party candidates. Look for reform legislation in 2011.