Grassroots:2 - Ballot Access
defined and first step on developing campaign plan
In the previous article on this subject (See: Grassroots: How early should I
) we mentioned that as a non
Republican/Democrat candidate your campaign or your candidate will
face additional obstacles. These are referred to as ballot access
obstacles. In Georgia and many other States independent candidates
have to request placement on the ballot by "nominating petitions."
Ballot Access in Georgia
A "nominating petition" requires obtaining signatures from
your fellow citizens that are registered to vote, asking the State
(or appropriate county or municipality) to place your name on the
ballot. These laws vary State to State and this article will
describe the laws in Georgia. If you live in another State, check
the laws by contacting your Secretary of State's office and make
modifications as needed. Other States are easier, but the same
principles apply on not only trying to overcome this obstacle - but
turning it around and using it as a campaign resource.
For Georgia there are two ways for a non Republican/Democrat
to get on the ballot:
By a political body qualification petition for statewide
By a candidate nominating petition
Lets briefly explain the terms and requirements of each.
Political Body qualification petition
In Georgia there are two definitions of political entities;
political party and political body. A political party requires 20%
or more of the vote in either the Governor or the Presidential
elections. In Georgia that equates to Republican or Democrat.
Every other political entity is thus a political body.
For statewide elections only a political body can achieve
ballot access by submitting a qualification petition containing at
least 1% of the number of registered voters (Active) in the State
in the previous general election. That is roughly 38,000 "valid"
signatures of registered voters. Valid means that the signature
has passed the very rigorous rejection gauntlet required by
section 2-170 of Georgia election code. Routinely 30% of submitted
signatures are "rejected" for many reasons - both valid and
When a political body passes this petition requirement, they
can then nominate by convention candidates for statewide office by
convention. As long as a least 1 candidate polls 1% of the vote
each general election, this status is maintained. In Georgia only
the Libertarian Party has qualified to nominate by convention by
this method. The Southern Party of Georgia will be announcing our
first attempt shortly.
Remember this is only for statewide candidates and does not
apply to Congressional, State Legislature, County or Municipal
partisan elections. There is a 15 month period for gathering the
Candidate Nominating Petition
For independents, members of non qualified political bodies
and all non statewide elections the candidate has to submit a
"nominating petition." Georgia has the toughest requirement in our
country, written in 1943 of 5% of the registered voters (Active)
in the election district. You have a 180 day window to accomplish
this requirement. Once again the validation process as it is
called will reject typically 30% of the submitted signatures for
various reasons - both valid and invalid.
Thus independent candidates, other than Libertarian statewide
candidates, need to start their campaign as early as possible so
that their petition effort can launch at full speed in the first day
of the 180 day window. For 2006 the start day is around the middle
of January, 2006.
Now is the time to begin getting a head start and should be a
part of your campaign plan. Not only will this increase the odds of
getting on the ballot but can actually give you a jump on your
opponents and end up being a campaign resource. This will be covered
in more detail in the next article.
Actions for potential candidates:
Your first step as a potential candidate is to get the
statistics on their election districts for the office(s) that you
For the petition requirements you need to get the number of
active registered voters in the 2004 election. For statewide,
Congress or State Legislature contact the Secretary of State,
Division of Elections. For county or municipality elections
contact your county elections board.
Other statistics or estimates that will be needed. The VAP
(voting age population), total population estimates and election
results from last two or three elections. These will all be
considered in our suggestions on how to develop a campaign plan.
There are various sources that may provide these statistics.
If you live in another State - get the ballot access
requirements. You are lucky, they will easier than Georgia!
Actions for concerned citizens:
Now a word to those who are not considering being a candidate.
If you would like additional choices on your November ballot it is
largely up to you. In Georgia over half of the State House districts
only had one choice last November and over a third of the State
Senate and Congressional race only had one choice. And many wonder
why our elected officials ignore the public more and more every
Isn't there something American about
having a choice?
Well if you live in Georgia, you have less choice in most
election districts than most countries in the world. In business we
espouse the importance of open competition, but in our government we
do not support competition.
Give that some thought the next time you complain about some
tax or other government action. Just as potential independent
candidates need to start their planning now, concerned citizens need
to jump in and help those candidates locate the support they need.
In each of these articles we will list easy and simple things
you, the concerned citizens, can do to promote competition in
elections. For now it is very simple, just help spread the word, email this page to some of your fellow citizens who have also complained
about taxes or other actions of our government. It usually is not
very hard to find a few of those!
The following is the subject from Local Victory Newsletter
being discussed. We recommend all potential candidates subscribe to
this free newsletter.
The Two Most Frequently Asked Questions About Grassroots
by Joe Garecht
This article appeared in the May 15, 2002 issue of the Local Victory Newsletter
Local Victory receives over 300 e-mails
per month asking questions on winning local elections. The
majority of these questions deal with grassroots politics �
organizing a district, conducting canvasses, etc.
this article, we�re taking a look at the two most frequently
asked questions we receive:
1. How early should I start
This is one of the most common questions
for first-time candidates and campaign managers. The short
answer is: it�s never too early to
start. There are always activities you can carry-out to
help your campaign or future campaign. Even if the election
is four years away, you can be out meeting people, talking
with leaders and activists, building an organization and
writing your campaign plan.
Of course, you don�t want to announce
your candidacy or run advertisements too far in advance of the
campaign. While the best time to start these activities
varies by place, election and strategy, they generally should
never take place before the last election before yours is
complete (November of the year before the your election) and
in all but the biggest and/or best funded races should not
take place before January of the year of your election.
When deciding when to start running
advertisements, remember to wait until people are paying
attention to the campaign or ready to start paying attention �
if you run ads and no one cares, you are wasting your
campaign�s precious fundraising dollars.
If you have some interest in
for the people of Georgia, the following articles
may be of interest:
Part 1 Many ask, "Why a Southern Party �?"
Part 2 The Southern Party: Strengths and Weaknesses
Part 3 The
Southern Party: A Plan for 2006 Election Cycle
Part 4 The Southern Party: We need your help