On July 17, U.S. District Richard W. Story dismissed the Green Party and Constitution Party ballot access lawsuit which challenges Georgia’s petition requirement for minor party and independent presidential ballot access. The order is only four pages, and the substantive part is only one paragraph. Judge Story said that because the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld Georgia’s 5% petition for Governor in Jenness v Fortson, and because lower courts had upheld Georgia’s 5% petition for Congress in Cartwright v Barnes, and Coffield v Kemp, therefore the Georgia presidential petition of 1% must be constitutional.
The judge didn’t mention Bergland v Harris, nor Anderson v Celebrezze, both of which said states have a diminished interest in keeping presidential candidates off their ballots, relative to other office. Bergland v Harris is an 11th circuit precedent, and Georgia is in the 11th circuit. Bergland v Harris said that Georgia’s 2.5% petition might very well be unconstitutional as applied to presidential candidates, and remanded the case back to a lower court. Before the lower court could act, the Georgia legislature lowered the 2.5% petition down to 1%.