APN to Host 2nd Town Hall on Ballot Access for Third Party, Independent Candidates

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(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Progressive News will be holding its second Official Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, from 7-9pm at the Spring4th Center in Atlanta’s Midtown. It is the third Tuesday night in September.

This will be the second in a series of monthly town hall meetings called by APN to address critical community issues and empower community advocates, citizens, and experts alike to share information in a collaborative setting, with the hopes of leading to meaningful action and public policy change.

APN has created a Facebook event page for the event where you can RSVP at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=120926601292895.

SEPTEMBER’S TOPIC: BALLOT ACCESS CHALLENGES IN GEORGIA FOR THIRD PARTY AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES

In 2008, Atlanta Progressive News was the only news agency to report on Faye Coffield, who had an independent candidacy against US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA).

Coffield filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia for requiring her to gather some 15,000 signatures, and that case is being appealed to the Supreme Court of the US.

This year, independent candidates Mary Norwood and Ray Boyd catapulted ballot access issues into the spotlight, with their respective races for Fulton County Chairperson and Governor of Georgia.

In all, 8 of 9 candidates attempting to gather petitions to get on the ballot failed.

However:

-What exactly are our ballot access laws and how did they come to exist?

-Why is it so difficult to collect the required signatures?

-Why is it important for voters to have more meaningful choices?

-Where do our Secretary of State candidates stand on the issue?

-What legislative proposals and other advocacy actions can concerned voters unite behind in 2010 and 2011?

To address these issues, we have booked five speakers so far (with others invited), who will speak for 60 minutes. We will also provide 40 minutes for questions and comments by the public.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS

(1) Faye Coffield, 2008 independent candidate against US Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) who filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia over ballot access restrictions.

(2) Brad Ploeger, 2010 Libertarian candidate against State Rep. Margaret Kaiser. Ploeger was given the wrong form and had to run as an independent. He was unable to collect the necessary signatures.

(3) Allan Williamson, 2010 independent candidate for State House District 82. Williamson turned in more than the number of required signatures, but some were disqualified, leaving him with one fewer than required. Many were disqualified because voters had moved into the district and not changed their address with the Secretary of State.

(4) Garland Favorito, ballot access activist.

(5) David Chastain, 2010 Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State, who is on the ballot. [Libertarians are the only third party candidates to have gained repeated statewide ballot access using one provision of Georgia’s laws].

We have invited speakers–and welcome the participation of Georgians–across the political spectrum. In order to change ballot access laws in Georgia, the independents, the Libertarians, the progressive left, and the progressive right will have to figure out how to work together to fight the two-party system which denies voter choice to us all.

INVITED SPEAKERS

-Mary Norwood

-Ray Boyd

-State Rep. Georgia Sinkfield, 2010 Democratic nominee for Secretary of State

-Secretary of State Brian Kemp (Mr. Kemp cannot attend but will be issuing a prepared statement, according to his re-election campaign)

TABLING AND NETWORKING: Arrive early for tabling and networking from 630-7pm.

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING: There are 16 free spaces at the Arby’s parking lot next to Spring4th for early birds. There are paid spaces at the Georgia Tech deck for $1.50 per hour, as well as metered parking all around.

FOR DETAILS SEE: http://www.spring4th.com/PageDirections.html

Or even better, take MARTA! The North Avenue station is two blocks away.

BEVERAGES: Spring4th has a paid bar for refreshments as well as alcoholic beverages.

ACCESSIBILITY: Spring4th is wheelchair accessible.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL MATTHEW CARDINALE (404) 664 1243

(END/2010)

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