ATLANTA (CN) – A Georgia woman is suing the Georgia Secretary of State in federal court for barring her from running as an independent in the upcoming election in November and arguing that the high bar for ballot placement is a hold-over from the dominance of white Democrats a half-century ago.
Faye Coffield, who wants to represent Georgia’s fourth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, said her petition to get on the ballot was denied because she didn’t have enough signatures.
According to Coffield, about 2000 people signed her petition signed but she still fell short of the required number of signatures required in Georgia law. Coffield cited a Georgia law that states that a petition “…be signed by a number of voters equal to five 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…”
The plaintiff believes the law was passed in 1943 by a “General Assembly entirely dominated by white Democrats, for partisan reasons, to wit, suppressing electoral competition by any other political parties, including the Republican Party.”
According to the complaint, Georgia is only one of two states requiring an independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives to get a number of petition signatures in excess of three percent of the number of the registered voters in the congressional district in question. In addition, no independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives has met Georgia’s five-percent requirement since 1964, according to the complaint.
Two of Coffield’s supporters are also plaintiffs in the case. They are represented by Gary Sinawski.