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May 24, 2024 8:34 pm

National News

Spoiler alert: Third party candidates aim to give Georgia voters alternatives to Biden and Trump

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by Ross Williams, Georgia Recorder
April 24, 2024

A presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate came to metro Atlanta Tuesday to take questions from voters.

Jill Stein from the Green Party and Karina Garcia with the Party of Socialism and Liberation may not be the first candidate names one thinks of, but both said their names will be on Georgia’s ballots this November, and they, along with other third party candidates, could be a factor in the presidential race.

Stein, a physician and left-wing activist, and Garcia, a Chicana organizer and running mate to PSL presidential candidate Claudia De la Cruz, stopped by Masjid Al-Furqan West Cobb Islamic Center for a candidate forum.

There was not much policy disagreement between the two. Both called for an end to the war in Gaza and a one-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. They both advocate for greatly reducing the military budget and increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for social programs and public services like universal healthcare and higher education while eliminating all student debt.

At the end of the nearly two-hour panel discussion, Garcia announced the PSL had met the current requirements to get third party candidates like De la Cruz onto the November ballot –  7,500 signatures from registered Georgia voters.

“We are definitely going to be on the ballot in the state of Georgia,” she said. “We just collected over 7,500 petitions. We’re actually going to double that just because we know how backward and undemocratic this country is, so we’re going to go ahead and double that, but we just wanted to let you know that we have done that and we’re going to be on the ballot in the state of Georgia.”

Garcia said the PSL is planning to be on the ballot in 24 states, while Stein said the Green Party is set to be on the ballot in every state.

“We will be the one campaign on track right now to be on the ballot for every voter across the country so that we can stand up to empire,” she said. “And let me just say there will be three candidates, there will be three pro-genocide, pro-war, anti-worker candidates on the ballot, and there will be one candidate across the country that will be fighting empire.”

But the rule for third party candidates appearing on Georgia’s ballot could soon be changing. An omnibus election bill passed by the state Legislature but not yet signed by Gov. Brian Kemp includes a provision that would allow third party candidates to appear on Georgia’s ballots if they qualify to appear on ballots in 20 other states.

Kemp has until May 7 to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without taking action. The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue the state if he signs it over other provisions in the bill.

“We are hopeful that this legislation will be signed by the governor which would then place us on the ballot automatically because we’re already on in a sufficient number of states,” Stein said.

“That would be very nice because we have many ballot drives going on right now at the same time,” she added. “We actually have 75% of the total signature burden already collected for the nation, and it’s like a million signatures that we need. So Georgia is actually a relatively modest part of that, but it would be great if we get on the ballot basically automatically.”

Garcia said she expects the PSL ticket will be on the ballot in at least 24 states, so they’re covered either way, but she said the change could harm others who are not able to muster resources in as many states.

“We’re not surprised by this anti-democratic measure because we know how difficult it is to be on the ballot to begin with.”

“They’re making all kinds of ways to make it impossible for any third party to be able to have a voice in this country,” she added. “But we have the vast majority of people who are on our side. It really just takes a committed group of volunteers to get out there and talk to people, and that we have.”

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: info@georgiarecorder.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.

This story is republished from Georgia Recorder under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.