Ballot Access Barriers a Public Health Threat in Pandemic Conditions
Represented by Bryan Sells, a sole practitioner specializing in voting rights, election law and redistricting, the Georgia Green Party joined litigation filed today (1:20-cv-01312-ELR) in Georgia’s Northern District of the United States District Court, seeking relief from Georgia’s oppressive ballot access barriers, with pleadings demonstrating that compliance with the law presents a public health threat under pandemic conditions.
“Giving voters in Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District the opportunity to vote Green in November’s election risks exposing our ballot access petition circulators, and the voters they interact with, to 176,000 or more Georgians while ignoring CDC guidance related to social distancing,” said Jimmy Cooper, nominated by the Georgia Green Party at its February 22nd convention in Bonaire Georgia.
The Bonaire Convention also endorsed Clarke County resident John Fortuin as its candidate in the non-partisan state-wide special election to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate created by the resignation of former Senator Johnny Isakson; and nominated a slate of Presidential Electors. Besides the nearly 22,000 valid signatures required to put Jimmy Cooper on the ballot for Congress, the Georgia Green Party has been organizing to collect an addition 7,500 signatures to secure a ballot line for its Presidential slate, expected to be named by its national party’s Quadrennial Presidential Nominating Convention, scheduled for Detroit Michigan, the weekend of July 8th through 12th.
“Voters and ballot access activists in Georgia should not have to choose between the health of their families and communities and our right to effectively participate in the democratic process,” said Kweku Lumumba, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party, who by day works with homeless youth, and in the evening hosts a weekly radio show. “Georgia voters deserve an opportunity to vote for the Green imperative: a political paradigm shift to comprehensively address the present and potential impact of catastrophic climate change, to end perpetual wars, to promote and protect a world worthy of passing on to our children, and to remove barriers to democracy that have not been erected against Green Party participation in other states.”
The pleadings filed today by Attorney Sells are styled as Cooper et al vs. Raffensperger. Besides Green Party candidate Jimmy Cooper, the co-plaintiffs include Martin Cowen, a Congressional candidate nominated by the Georgia Libertarian Party, and the Georgia Green Party itself. The state party represents the interests of Georgia Greens with respect to the ballot access barriers which have kept their party’s Presidential nominees off Georgia’s ballot every election cycle since Ralph Nader first ran in 1996. Georgia is one of only four states where no Green Party presidential slate has ever appeared on the ballot. The case has been filed, but not yet processed. Although the assignment of a case number is still pending, we soon anticipate its public availability in the court’s online systems. Attorney Sells anticipates offering the judge a draft consent decree in the next couple of business days, asking the Attorney General and Secretary of State to cooperate with plaintiffs for the benefit of a quick and inexpensive resolution to this controversy.
“We appreciate last week’s order by Secretary Raffensperger, extending the petition filing deadline into August”, said Denice Traina, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. “But we also recognize that that was the extent of his statutory authority. Without judicial intervention, Georgia voters will be denied an opportunity to vote for Green candidates in Novembers’ election, without demanding that we risk the health of the communities we seek to serve.”
“Under pandemic conditions, Georgia’s ballot access barriers go far beyond the Jim Crow intentions of the 1943 General Assembly to keep black voters off the ballot”, said Jimmy Cooper, a Lizella Georgia resident, who also serves as the state party’s 2020 ballot access coordinator. “They constitute a public health threat to all Georgians, indeed to people far beyond Georgia’s borders.”
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Complaint as filed: Cooper-vs-Raffensperger-complaint-as-filed-20200326
The Georgia Green Party
Fortuin for Georgia
campaign website expects to relaunch next week
Jimmy Cooper for Congress
The Law Office of Bryan Sells
For immediate release
Thursday, March 26th, 2020
For further information, please contact:
Hugh Esco, Secretary, Georgia Green Party
912-571-1833 * email@example.com
Green Party nominee, 8th Congressional District of Georgia
404-877-2044 * firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Chairs, Georgia Green Party
Kweku Lumumba, 770-895-7686 * email@example.com
Denice Traina, 706-951-2413 * firstname.lastname@example.org