Taking a look at signature requirements to gain ballot access as an independent

Photo of Georgia State Capitol (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Georgia requires independent candidates to obtain signatures from five percent of registered voters in any particular district to qualify for their name to appear on the ballot. This can translate to thousands of voters and significant legwork for an interested candidate to qualify.

If one has ever considered running for the Georgia General Assembly, but doesn’t consider themselves a member of either major party, here’s a look at how many signatures would be required for ballot access in 2020. It’s important to acknowledge this is separate from nor does it exclude someone from registering as a write-in candidate.

DistrictCurrent RepresentativeRequired Signatures
Senate 10Emanuel Jones6,333
Senate 17Brian Strickland6,463
House 73Karen Mathiak1,913
House 76Sandra Scott1,869
House 78Demetrius Douglas1,911
House 90Pam Stephenson2,068
House 109Dale Rutledge2,053
House 110Andy Welch1,880
House 111El-Mahdi Holly2,269
House 130David Knight1,803
Source: Georgia General Assembly / Georgia Secretary of State

This year, voters will also consider candidates for a variety of local positions including district attorney, sheriff, tax commissioner, school board members, and county commissioners. Here’s a look at ballot access requirements at a local level.

PositionRequired Signatures
Countywide Office (Sheriff, Tax
Commissioner, County Chair, etc)
6,291
County Commission District I1,152
County Commission District II1,378
School Board District I1,047
School Board District II1,241
School Board District III1,212
Source: Henry County Election Results, 2016

All numbers correspond to the 2020 election. The five percent requirement is calculated based on the number of registered voters at the time of the immediate past election for the office sought.

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