CCD, the Coalition for Free and Open Elections, and Free & Equal file amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court, in support of the petition for certiorari filed by Faye Coffield, an independent candidate for U.S. House who was denied access to Georgia’s 2008 general election ballot. No minor party or independent candidate for U.S. House has successfully petitioned to access Georgia’s ballot since the state increased its requirements in 1964 – a period of 46 years. The case is Coffield v. Kemp, No. 10-596. The district court and the Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit summarily dismissed Coffield’s challenge to Georgia’s 5 ballot access requirements, on the ground that the Supreme Court upheld them in Jenness v. Fortson, which was decided in 1971. In Jenness, however, the Court relied on the fact that minor party candidates had been able to access Georgia’s ballot in recent elections. The 11th Circuit discounted the fact that no minor party or independent candidate for U.S. House has done so since then on the ground that Coffield did not allege how many have tried. The purpose of CCD’s amicus brief is to provide the Court with facts confirming that many candidates have tried but failed to comply with Georgia’s petitioning requirements in the 46 years since Jenness was decided. This is significant because the Court has repeatedly concluded that courts reviewing the constitutionality of ballot access laws must consider whether or not candidates are able to comply with them.
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