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Last updated 4:29AM ET
February 28, 2021
Appeals Court Hears Ballot Access Arguments
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Former third-party and independent candidates from several Southern states are hoping a case before the federal appeals court in Atlanta could bring easier access to ballots.

The Eleventh U-S Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments yesterday (Tuesday) on whether an Alabama election law revised four years ago unfairly restricts candidates.

A federal judge last year upheld the law, which requires general-election candidates to collect signatures from three percent of the total number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election. Attorneys claim the law is necessary to unclutter ballots and prevent ``sore loser'' candidates who lost in the primary from running as independents.

Among those sitting on the courtroom benches during the 45-minute hearing were several former third-party candidates from North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They support making ballot access easier.

In Georgia, third-party candidates running for statewide office must collect the signatures of one percent of registered voters. Third-party candidates running for local office must meet a five percent threshold.

The signatures are due on the Tuesday before Georgia's primary election, which is the third Tuesday in July.

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