Republicans keep top billing on Georgia ballots, judge rules



Republican candidates, from President Donald Trump to state legislators, can continue to be listed ahead of Democrats on Georgia ballots, according to a federal judge’s ruling.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg denied an effort to overturn a Georgia law that requires candidates in the same party as the most recently elected governor to be listed first on the ballot in partisan general elections.

The plaintiffs in the case, including the Democratic National Committee, had argued that the law gave Republican candidates an unfair edge. Expert witnesses told the court that Republicans received a 4.2 percentage point advantage, on average, from being listed first on the ballot in Georgia elections since 2004.

But Totenberg ruled Thursday that she was bound by an April decision from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar ballot order case from Florida.

The 11th Circuit found that “alleged injury of vote dilution based on an average measure of partisan advantage is legally insufficient to establish standing to challenge the constitutionality of the ballot order statute,” Totenberg wrote.

Totenberg allowed the plaintiffs to amend their lawsuit with more specific allegations that they had been harmed.

Candidates in the governor’s political party have been listed first on Georgia general election ballots since 1964, when Democratic Gov. Carl Sanders was in office.