Faye Coffield, an independent running for Congress in Georgia (who was also Cynthia McKinney’s private investigator at one time), is challenging the consitutionality of Georgia’s ballot access laws. They currently require 15,000 signatures for an independent to get on the ballot, or 5% of the popular vote in the last election. Coffield did not collect enough signatures, but is running as a write-in.
“I had to obtain 25000-35000 because they already stated there would be a challenge to my signatures,” Coffield said. “In Tennessee I would’ve needed 25. In Mississippi, I would’ve needed 200.”
“It’s difficult because first of all, the form is on 8 1/2 by 14 which means you cannot email it anybody. Nobody has 8 ½ by 14 paper. You have to go out and buy legal paper. Each page has to be notarized and each page only contains 15 signatures. So you have to have a minimum of 1000 pages notarized, with a $4 standard notary fee for each page. So you’re talking about $4,000 just to be notarized.” There’s also a $4,800 filing fee, higher than any other state.
An Atlanta Progressive News article continues,
Attorneys for Faye Coffield–Gary Sinawski of Brooklyn, New York, and Walker Chandler of Zebulon, Georgia–filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the US District Court, North District of Georgia, in late August 2008, according to a copy of the filing obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.
Sinawski is a national elections and constitutional civil rights lawyer. Chandler, as previously reported by APN, has also participated in the VoterGA case over Georgia’s electronic voting machines.
Secretary of State Karen Handel (R-GA) filed her response in mid-September by way of Georgia’s Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Deputy Attorney General Dennis Dunn, Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter, and Assistant Attorney General Penny Hannah, the usual suspects. Handel made a motion to dismiss and filed a 21-page brief supporting her request, also obtained by APN.
The case is currently in jeopardy due to a clerical error by the court, APN has learned. The clerk mailed the filings to the wrong address for Coffield’s lead attorney, and Sinawsky did not receive the state’s response until last week, he told APN.
They are currently attempting to file a request for a summary judgment, Sinawsky said.
The state requires any “nomination petition of a candidate for any [non-statewide] office shall be signed by a number of voters equal to 5 percent of the total number of registered voters eligible to vote in the last election for the filling of the office the candidate is seeking and the signers of such petition shall be registered and eligible to vote in the election at which such candidate seeks to be elected,” according to the Office Code of Georgia, 21-2-170(b).
The full article can be read here.