On September 19, Georgia filed its 17-page brief in Green Party of Georgia v State of Georgia, 13-11816. The issue is whether Georgia’s presidential ballot access is unconstitutionally difficult. No presidential petition has succeeded in Georgia since 2000. The law in 2012 required 50,334 valid signatures and all sheets had to be notarized.
The Green Party and the Constitution Party are basing their lawsuit on the Eleventh Circuit precedent Bergland v Harris, a 1985 case that said prior precedents upholding Georgia’s ballot access laws don’t necessarily apply to presidential restrictions. Georgia is in the Eleventh Circuit. The Bergland decision says that the existing law at the time, which required 61,670 signatures, might be unconstitutionally difficult, and sent the case back to the lower court for more fact-finding. No further proceedings were needed in that case, however, because in 1986 the Georgia legislature lowered the petition requirement that applied to the presidential election, and all statewide office, to 25,579 signatures. Unfortunately, since then, the number of signatures has doubled, due to population growth, so that it is almost as high as it was in 1984.
Georgia’s new brief is so reluctant to discuss the Bergland precedent, the brief doesn’t even mention that case until page 15, and only contains one sentence about it. It says the Bergland case “doesn’t support the contention that Jenness must be eschewed in favor of a new analysis that addresses the purportedly ‘unique considerations’ underlying presidential elections.” That sentence is false.
The Georgia brief also asks the Court not to hold oral argument.