Ballots & access: Party crashers - PittsburghLIVE.comThank you Tribune Review.
There would be no need for the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition, composed of political 'third parties' like the Libertarians and Greens, if the General Assembly respected the commonwealth's Constitution.
Article 1, Section 5, states clearly, emphatically -- and yet ironically -- that 'Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.'
The Constitution's framers would be appalled to see how the state's two-party monopoly, a duopoly of Republicans and Democrats, has rigged election laws to guarantee that no one can crash their party by being competitive.
Republican and Democrat statewide candidates typically can gain ballot access by collecting about 1,000 or 2,000 signatures on their petitions. But other parties and independent candidates need obscene multiples of those numbers.
In 2002, third parties needed roughly 21,000 signatures. In 2004, 26,000. And in 2006, 67,070. And since each must be valid, third parties might need more than 100,000 to withstand the inevitable court challenges from the Gang of Two.
The Ballot Access Coalition only wants a level playing field. And for the duopoly controlling this Keystone Kleptocracy -- and milking it dry by giving itself unconscionable pay raises in the dead of night -- to obey the law.
Getting access to the ballot is one serious hurdle that needs to be fixed, locally, and statewide. PA is in the dark ages.
I've got a number of "democratic" planks in my agenda, and this is right at the top. Sure, the democratic planks, often ignored by big "D" Democrats are not that "sexy" -- but they are important. One reason we don't have better politicians is because we make it nearly impossible to run for office. Too often the Democrats are playing DE-FENCE. Scream Deeee-Fence at Heinz Field. Don't push defence as a way to advance our region and have it be pervasive in the approach to our political avenues with candidates and voting.
These laws can be fixed. We must do it together. Think again about ballot access.