On January 5, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court and found that Georgia’s 5% petition (of the number of registered voters) for independent candidates, and the nominees of parties that didn’t poll 20% of the vote in the last election for president or governor, is constitutional. Here is the 17-page opinion.
The decision says the requirement is not “severe”, even though the evidence in the case shows that no one has successfully overcome that requirement since 1964, when the deadline was in October and the signatures were not checked and didn’t need to be notarized, and district boundaries did not split counties. The evidence also shows that in the 21st century alone, twenty attempts have been made, all of which failed.
The decision does not explain why the requirement is not severe, other than to say that in 2020, a candidate for judicial office met the requirement. But he was running in a judicial district that has far fewer voters than a U.S. House district, and his district was comprised of five counties, so the boundary of the district did not cross county lines. Also he only needed 3,526 signatures. U.S. House petitions are approximately 25,000. The Georgia Secretary of State still has not calculated the precise requirement for 2022 in any district.
If Georgia’s law is constitutional, then a similar law in all states would be constitutional. And if every state had a law like Georgia’s, there would have been an absolute monopoly of Democratic and Republican candidates on the ballot for U.S. House in the entire nation for almost 60 years.