PA's Third-Party Candidates: How They're Fighting Back Against the State That Hates Them

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 4 | Posted Mar. 13, 2012

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Rep. Allyson Schwartz even suggests such legislation is a good idea. “Pennsylvania law should look at other states that have less stringent requirements and see if there are other ballot options that should be pursued,” writes Neil Deegan, Schwartz’s political director, in an email.

Hall says that in addition to Folmer’s SB 21, there should be a federal law making sure there can be no more Pennsylvanias. “A federal ballot access statute,” he says, “that would be one of the most obvious things that needs to happen to give our voters more choices. The U.S. Supreme Court could weigh in on this subject.”

A federal statute would allow more candidates for president, he says. Currently, getting on the ballot requires the candidate have a huge staff who understand the differing ballot requirements in each state.

Bottom line: The Supreme Court needs to tell people, regarding the Pennsylvania statute, that there is no legal or rational basis for a third party candidate to prove s/he has the support of tens of thousands of legitimate state residents just to run for office.

“As it stands, if we got a million signatures, they still wouldn’t let us on the ballot right now,” says Small.

As for Kleinman, he’s got his challenge ahead of him: convincing a majority Democrats of the 13th District to write his name in on April 24.

“In some ways, running as a write-in candidate simplifies things,” he says. “It’s the same campaign. I just have more to discuss now because people are interested in what happened in court with the legal wrangling.”

Glass half-full, the challenge might’ve helped him.

“I know people already who were undecided before this happened,” he says, “and now they say I have their full support.”

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Comments 1 - 4 of 4
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1. Rich Garella said... on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:46AM

“Rep. Schwartz should be ashamed of herself, having challenged Kleinman's signatures while knowing full well that the loser-pays law unfairly burdens the little guy, likely making a defense financial suicide. It's highly unlikely she would have been threatened in the primary anyway. She and the Democratic Party could have benefited from a healthy policy debate, but she foreclosed that opportunity. This is not the Ally Schwartz we once knew.
Now she's part of the bipartisan machine that runs Pennsylvania. The two ruling parties are not going to change the status quo that cements them permanently in power. In some states the courts would be the place to challenge it, but here in Pennsylvania our state judges, right up to the Supreme Court, are cogs in the party machine.”

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2. Jack Smith said... on Mar 15, 2012 at 07:26PM

“The 3rd Party gives us a true choice that the Bobsy Twins in the main two parties refuse to give us. I know, "who wants to spend the time on a choice.!”

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3. Joe said... on Mar 19, 2012 at 11:54AM

“Thank you for doing a story about this. It's sickening that we have an election system that now says businesses and unions may donate unlimited money to a Super PAC, and yet a third-party and independent candidates can barely compete. If you were to purposely build a system against the common voter, this is how you'd do it.

Sadly, PA has the most backwards laws in the country on a wide array of issues. This is merely one of them. For a down-home, conservative as hell state at its core, it has no idea how to run a true Democracy. If you want to protest this kind of corruption, vote Green, Independent, or anything else in November. It's truly your only voice.”

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4. Derrick said... on Sep 7, 2012 at 08:18PM

“It is way past time we started prosecuting treasonous actions in this country. The Republican and Democrats responsible for this law should be sent to prison.”


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