Friday, October 13, 2006

Pennsylvania Supreme Court denies political choice

From hex
Pennsylvania Libertarian Party condemns decision to ban Senate candidate

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party today condemned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to remove Carl Romanelli, the Green Party U.S. Senate candidate, from the state ballot.

This year, Democrat and Republican candidates for statewide office needed only 2,000 signatures to get on the Primary election ballot and the winners required no additional signatures to be listed on the General Election ballot. In contrast, all other parties and independents needed 67,070 valid signatures to attain the same end.

Although the Green Party submitted 95,000 signatures, the Democrats challenged and convinced the courts that thousands of signatures were invalid, leaving the party 8931 short of the required total. Pennsylvania’s signature requirements are extremely strict. Signatures are rejected for technicalities such as forgetting to enter the date or entering information in the wrong box. In addition, the courts have redefined “qualified electors” from its statutory definition of Pennsylvania citizens over 18 to registered voters.

Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor dissented from the majority opinion because of this redefinition. “I maintain my belief that, under the material provisions of the Election Code, citizens need not be registered voters to validly sign nomination papers on behalf of an independent political body candidate. Since I do not believe that Appellant should be denied ballot access based on the Commonwealth Court’s existing assessment, I respectfully dissent from the majority’s present percuriamruling.”

To further discourage future efforts by independents and third parties to undergo the Herculean effort to offer Pennsylvanians additional choices on the ballot, the court ordered Mr. Romanelli to pay $89,000 in court costs and all the Democratic Party’s legal bills, which are expected to approach $1 million.

Tom Martin Libertarian Party State Senate candidate for the 34th District in Centre County ( noted “The two old parties have further strengthened their monopoly on who can run for office. The great economist Adam Smith had important points about monopoly: One: They are the great enemy of good management and Two: Monopolies need government support to last. What better proof of both of these observations then the political parties using government support to protect themselves from the voters.”

Mr. Martin also failed to meet the draconian signature requirements in his efforts to run as the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate. He is now running as a write-in candidate.

With this year’s 67,070 signature requirement, Pennsylvania is the second worst state in the nation for ballot access. The Ballot Access Coalition has been pursuing a legislative remedy to this problem. The Voters' Choice Act ( is based on Delaware's reasonable ballot access law. Unfortunately, the VCA is locked in our legislature's State Government committee.

Ken Krawchuk, the Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Governor in 1998 and 2002, was outraged by the news. "This decision is the death knell for third parties in Pennsylvania. Who will undertake running for political office with the threat of a million dollar fine? Certainly not me! Unless we can convince the legislature to pass our Voters' Choice Act, this contemptible decision could drive me into political retirement. But I will still campaign full force against oath breaking judges who have made a mockery of our electoral process.
Press release from Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, 3915 Union Deposit Road #223, Harrisburg, PA 17109, 1-800-774-4487, from, Chuck Moulton, Chair, Doug Leard, Media Relations

No comments: