How Bad Do Minor Parties Have It on PA Ballot Access?

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Randy LoBasso explains how difficult it is to get on the PA ballot as a third party candidate:

The process by which signatures are challenged in Pennsylvania—as previously reported by PW in this cover story—would probably be funny if it weren’t the worst thing you’ve never heard of. But it goes like this:

First, the third party hands in their signatures; this year, it was about 10 times the number required for Republicans and Democrats, due to the way election laws are set up (though in the past, that multiple has been as high as 30 times as many). Then, one or both of the major parties challenges the signatures based upon one of the state standards. That might be Hancocks belonging to unregistered voters, or it might be that the person signing the petition forgot to write the date (something Republicans are challenging Libertarians on this year), or writing a fake name, or signing two different party’s ballots—or, well, whatever.

Then the independent party either has enough money to take on the challenge or they don’t. An estimate of the ultimate cash amount is often provided to them (free of charge!) by the high-paid Republican- or Democrat-hired lawyers. For instance, in 2010, a Republican-hired lawyer (who is also working on this case) warned the Libertarian and Constitution Party candidates for statewide office that they could each face legal bills of up to $110,000—being that, in Pennsylvania, if you lose, the winner can force you to pay their legal fees as well as your own. (This law is currently being challenged.)

But let’s say you have the money and are willing to challenge the challenge. In that case, the court orders each party to gather a squad, sit together in a small Board of Elections room, and check the signatures on laptops, one by one. The amount of time this takes depends on the number of signatures being challenged. The more signatures, of course, the more time spent doing crap work.

This entry was posted in Elections.

One Response to How Bad Do Minor Parties Have It on PA Ballot Access?

  1. Miketivst says:

    From my experience with how the state works hard to kick of as many signatures as possible, if your name is McDonald and the state database has it listed as Mcdonald or Mc Donald, your signature is disqualified. At least that was the case for Carl Romanelli 6 years ago.