My name is Samuel Thomas, a life-long citizen of Georgia whose family has been in Georgia since the mid to late 1800s. I love this state and its people. I feel duty bound to reach out to you today for something of which I am very concerned about and that is Ballot Access. According to the The Federalist Papers no. 52 (Publius/Hamilton/Madison, 1788):
“A representative of the United States must be of the age of twenty-five years; must have been seven years a citizen of the United States; must, at the time of his election, be an inhabitant of the State he is to represent . . . the door of this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith.”
This primarily pertains to those seeking election of State Representative in the Federal house. As you can see there is merely a “reasonable” restriction on age and of citizenship. I would like to see this description extended to the representations within state legislation of Georgia. Unfortunately Georgia has enacted some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation that impose significant limitations upon those seeking office, far beyond the minimalist and “reasonable” view stated in the Federalist Papers. Furthermore, the papers outline a means of candidate nominations:
“The first view to be taken of this part of the government relates to the qualifications of the electors and the elected . . . To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper for the reason just mentioned. To have submitted it to the legislative discretion of the States, would have been improper for the same reason . . . The provision made by the convention appears, therefore, to be the best that lay within their option.” (Publius/Hamilton/Madison, 1788, The Federalist Papers no. 52)
From reading paper no. 52, the inclination is one that the decision of the convention is the best option for nomination. I believe this to be due to the minimalist nature of said provision. This acknowledges that a less intrusive regulation of elections is the most fitting for those who wish to conserve the integrity of representation in the United States. My belief is similar to that of Madison or Hamilton in that regulation pertaining to the requirements of office by the congress, or through the discretion of states, is not becoming of a just or free society.
This fine state of Georgia is my home, and forever holds a place of fondness in my heart, this is why I’m writing you. I want to see the best ideals of our forefathers flourish within our state, and wish them to nurture our people with the prosperity of quality representation. I want Georgia to be something of which our ancestors would be proud of. So I ask you, Chairman Rynders, to bring HB 191 to a vote. Let us take a cue from the previous imaginings of our original representatives, and become a state government which embraces the market of ideals, diversity of choice, and the true nature of a just and honest Democratic Republic.