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Federal Judge rules against Georgia’s limits on third-party House candidates

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A federal judge ruled Monday that Georgia's signature requirements for Libertarian and third-party congressional candidates are "overbroad." No third-party candidate has collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot for U.S. House since 1943.



The decision could open U.S. House races to candidates other than Republicans or Democrats.


Under a 1943 state law, no third-party House candidate in Georgia has ever collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot. The law requires third-party candidates to submit a petition signed by at least 5% of registered voters — over 19,700 signatures.



The decision could bring competition, including in House districts such as those represented by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, said Libertarian Party Chairman Ryan Graham. Greene, an outspoken freshman Republican, divided her North Georgia constituents.


“We could have had a candidate on the ballot had it not been for these petitioning requirements,” Graham said. “Hopefully the ruling will give Georgians more options about who to vote for, whether it’s Libertarians or other third parties.”


The office of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the defendant in the case, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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