Libertarian Party of Georgia issues post-election press release

Press Release
libertarian georgia

Official Libertarian Party of Georgia Press Release

Atlanta, GA – The 2018 Libertarian candidates in Georgia may not have been the front runners, but voters who chose to support candidates outside the two-party duopoly did so in a significant and meaningful way; by voicing their desire for change and personal liberty. One of the dominant tenants of our society is freedom of speech. It is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction. As Libertarians, we are constantly being told that our “vote doesn’t count” or that we are “just causing run-offs” because we are not voting for one of the two-party candidates.

 

Ryan Graham, the 2018 Libertarian candidate for Public Service Commission District 3 said about our current election system: “Republicans and Democrats like to complain that Libertarians cause costly runoffs while ignoring their own primaries that often cause the same expensive runoffs. Primaries that should be held privately by private organizations.” Graham further stated that, “We could easily fix this by forcing the Republicans and Democrats to finance and run their own primaries, and implementing Ranked Choice Voting as Smythe DuVal, the 2018 Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State, recommends. This would save the state billions of dollars over just a few election cycles.”

 

It is often difficult to enlighten citizens that voting for Libertarians can in fact make a significant impact on elections and the current political system. The 2018 Libertarian candidate for Governor, Ted Metz stated; “when there is a runoff, it might force voters to more closely examine the two final candidates. We can pick apart either party, but when it comes down to it, government is Republicans and Democrats. When they vote together on expanding government and increasing taxes, how is there any difference between the two parties?” Nicholas Sarwark, Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, further explains why a vote for a Libertarian candidate not only counts, but sends a poignant message to career politicians and citizens. He states that, “when you vote Libertarian, the other parties have to become more Libertarian.”

 

The 2018 Georgia Libertarian candidates earned the following votes and percentages in the November 6th election: Ted Metz for Governor earned 37,089 or 0.95% of the votes, Smythe DuVal earned 86,109 or 2.23% of the votes, Donnie Foster for Insurance Commissioner earned 101,587 or 2.64% of the votes, Ryan Graham for Public Service Commission (PSC) District 3 earned 102,272 or 2.66% of the votes, and John Turpish for PSC District 5 earned 96,695 or 2.52% of the votes. Those numbers and percentages may not seem significant upon first glance, but they represent a growing voice of citizen discontent with the two-party system and lack of candidates that reflect their values. More importantly, they count towards Libertarians being recognized as a political organization and securing future ballot access in Georgia.

Georgia code states that official political party status is determined by the number of votes a presidential or gubernatorial candidate receives. Once a Gubernatorial or Presidential candidate receives twenty percent of the votes, the Libertarian Party of Georgia will gain party status, giving us ballot access equal to the Democrats and Republicans. Until the LP of Georgia achieves that threshold, we are considered a political organization, and must collect petition signatures for all offices below state-wide officers. As long as any of our state-wide candidates receive one percent or more of the votes counted, our eligibility to nominate candidates at our convention for those positions remains intact. Almost all of the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s state-wide candidates met and exceeded that requirement, ensuring the right to run Libertarian candidates in 2019 and 2020. Thank you to the voters who supported the efforts of our candidates and our party platform of Liberty. For more information about the Libertarian Party of Georgia visit www.lpgeorgia.com.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Libertarian candidate for 9th District House battles state of Georgia over ballot access

News, Politics
Libertarian Georgia

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Libertarian Party of Georgia has selected their nominees for the 2018 election amidst a simmering lawsuit between party members and the state of Georgia over the right to third-party ballot access, claiming current restrictions are unconstitutional. Georgia law, the most stringent in the nation, requires 5 percent of registered voters to sign petitions, amounting to approximately 20,000 signatures needed in order to field a third-party candidate in any of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts. Petitions are limited to 180 days of circulation between the time the first and final signature is collected.

Aaron Gilmer

9th District U.S. House candidate Aaron Gilmer

The Libertarian Party of Georgia was established in 1972, and it is recognized as a valid political body. While Republican and Democratic nominees are automatically listed on the ballot, Libertarians say the archaic election regulations are not only biased towards candidates, but more importantly, restrict the freedom of choice from the citizens they wish to serve. A third-party candidate in Georgia has never collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot for the U.S. House since the state passed the qualification law in 1943.

The ballot access lawsuit was filed in federal court on Nov. 21, 2017.

Aaron Gilmer, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, secured the 9th District congressional nomination for the Libertarian Party on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.  The district consists of Towns, Union, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, White, Dawson, Banks, Rabun, Hart, Madison, Jackson, Habersham, and Franklin counties. Portions of Pickens, Forsyth, Elbert and Clarke counties are also included in the 9th District.

“In order to add your name to the ballot and seek the presidency, you need only 7,500 signatures.  But to run for U.S. House or Senate, you need over 20,000.  Our lawsuit seeks to level the playing field. Many politicians run unopposed in Georgia,” Gilmer explained.  “I believe until we allow citizens to participate in government, our politicians will not be held accountable.
“With the number of uncontested races in this state, it is alarming how much control a political party has to select winners and losers, without strong competition, in a general election cycle,” Gilmer added.
Martin Cowen, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, agrees that current restrictions are anti-competitive. “The current election laws were written by Republicans and Democrats to keep other candidates off the ballot. Eighty percent of the elections in the state are single-candidate which is anti-democratic. The requirements should be lowered so that people have a choice,” Cowen said.
Cowen, a retired judge and criminal defense attorney who has participated with the party since its 1972 inception, is the Libertarian nominee for U.S. House 13th District.
Atlanta attorney Jeff Amason offered his thoughts on the lawsuit.
“By their very nature, ballot access laws are oppressive, suppress choice, and through design favor the parties in control.  Georgia’s ballot access laws are some of the most restrictive in all these United States – giving Georgia the distinction of preferring to protect its favored candidates over offering choice to its voters,” Amason said. “It is ironic that Georgia tolerates and allows wasteful spending and effort in many governmental areas while it fervently restricts ballot access that limits voter choice – which should be the one area ‘waste’ would be tolerated in the name of voter choice and freedom.”
Georgia Libertarian Party Vice Chairman Ryan Graham told FetchYourNews a fair outcome to the lawsuit would be the nullification of antiquated ballot access laws. Graham was nominated for Public Service Commission in the 2018 state election.
Ryan Graham Libertarian

Public Service Commission candidate Ryan Graham

 “The laws we are battling were originally put into place to keep the Communist Party out of politics. Decades later, those same laws prevent everyone except Republicans and Democrats from being heard,” Graham expressed. “Georgia is considered one of the least competitive states in the nation. Eighty-one percent of incumbents run unchallenged while eighty-two percent of open seats run only a single candidate. Under the current ballot access laws, 27 candidates have attempted to run outside of the two major political parties and each has failed.

“This is bad for democracy and unfair to Georgians. As Libertarians, we believe competition breeds innovation and better results.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns, and Murray counties, as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. 

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Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin can be reached by dialing 706-970-8491 or contacted via email at Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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