Ballot Access

What does "ballot access" mean?

Some elections in Georgia are non-partisan. Most candidates for public office in municipal, school board and judicial elections do not need to declare what party they represent. However, elections for most county and state offices are assumed to be contests between Democrats and Republicans. Even though we as citizens and voters don't necessarily think of ourselves as having labels on us, candidates are strongly encouraged to declare themselves in one of two camps.

I represent a departure from this presumed partisan divide. However, they don't make it easy to get on the ballot if you don't want to call yourself a Republican or a Democrat. As a matter of fact, Georgia is one of the most difficult states in the country to gain ballot access if you aren't a D or an R.

In Georgia, Republicans and Democrats can run for State Legislature by paying a filing fee, and their names will appear on the ballot for the Republican and the Democratic party primaries. The winners of those primaries then face each other in the November general election.

I will be asking the voters of District 54 to help me gain ballot access to that same November election by signing my petition between January and July. That will mean you will have an independent choice in November 2014.

Over the course of 180 days, ending in July, an independent candidate must obtain signatures on a "ballot access petition." I will be asking registered voters eligible to vote in District 54 to sign my petition. (To help, click here.) The number of signatures required is equal to 5 percent of the total number of registered voters eligible to vote in the last District election. The number here in House District 54 is close to 2,000 valid signatures.

That's my hill to climb, and I will be in the district during the first half of 2014, asking you, my neighbors, to help me gain ballot access. You won't see my name if you vote in the party primary early in the year, but with your help, we can give the voters an independent choice in November.

To learn more about ballot access, the applicable code sections are O.C.G.A. 21-2-132 and 170. These are available online at

This website is paid for by Friends and Neighbors of Bill Bozarth. No government funds are used.