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08 February 2010

Sen. Shafer's Ballot Access Bill Is Good Legislation

Georgia has some of most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. If a candidate for public office is not a member of either the Democratic or Republican parties, it is like moving heaven and earth for that candidate to get on the ballot.

In an attempt to give voters more choice at the ballot box, State Senator David Shafer (R - Duluth) introduced Senate Bill 359 - the Voter Choice and Ballot Access Act.

Jason Pye provides a very good analysis of the legislation:

State Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) has proposed legislation, SB 359, would give political bodies, such as the Libertarian Party, a ballot line for statewide and down ticket races (local and legislative) provided it they can maintain the 1 percent of registered voters requirement for statewide races.

The legislation would also allow for political bodies to endorse a major party candidate running for public office. This is known as electoral fusion. Several states use a form of it, the most well known being New York. For example, the Conservative Party in the state has endorsed Republican Party candidates often. Shafer's bill would allow basically the same thing.

Pye, Jason (2010-2-7). Ballot access bill proposed in the Georgia General Assembly. Jason Pye.com. Retrieved on 2010-2-8.

Why should people be limited to choosing between the Democratic or Republican parties on election day?

I support voter choice at the ballot box, and I don't think government should be used to perpetuate the two-party system.

Sen. Shafer's legislation is currently pending in the Senate Ethics Committee.