Pennsylvania has the second worst ballot access laws in the nation. As a result, it is one of only four states that won’t have any third party candidates on the statewide ballot this year.
Carl Romanelli of the Green Party was the only one to gather sufficient signatures for U.S. Senate, but the Democrats acted swiftly to challenge his signatures in the courts. You’ll recall they did the same thing to torpedo Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign two years ago. In the end, Carl was kicked off the ballot, subjected to court costs and ordered to pay the Democrats legal fees which could amount to one million dollars.
The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (www.paballotaccess.org) had hoped to improve our ballot access laws. They proposed the Voters Choice Act and urged legislators to adopt it in time to ease this year’s requirement of over 67,000 signatures for a statewide office. Instead of acting quickly, our legislators did nothing.
We can’t allow the two old parties to monopolize our state’s elections while limiting voters choices and forcing every one else into the political basement. So, what are we civilized citizens to do?
The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition is urging everyone to write-in their vote for our statewide candidates. We are urging people to write-in NOTA in those races where they aren’t satisfied with the limited choices and there are no Libertarian write-in candidates. Lastly, we would encourage everyone who, because of their duties, occupation or business (including leaves of absence for teaching, vacations, and sabbatical leaves), expects on Election Day to be absent from his/her municipality of residence during the entire period the polls are open for voting to vote via absentee ballot.
Historically, this state does a poor job of counting write-in votes. That is why we are asking everyone to confirm their write-in votes were tabulated and reported to the county and state election officials after the election. It is our hope that after confronting the daunting task of certifying this election with substantial write-in votes from all of the minor parties, the election bureau will join our efforts to enact ballot access reform in this state.
The goal is to have independents and members from every minor party urging citizens to cast their votes via write-in at the November election. We will strive to make Election Day handouts available through local party leaders. The handouts will also be available for download from various web sites including the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition website listed above.
We hope you will support our continuing efforts to improve ballot access laws in Pennsylvania.
David Jahn is the Immediate Past LPPa Chair and a member of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition.