Saturday, January 27, 2007

Krawchuk's Letter to the editor: Ballot Access

To the Editor:

State Representative Josh Shapiro advancing the cause of good government? That'll be the day! Your editorial last Sunday missed the mark by miles. I can tell you from personal experience that Shapiro is more the typical flip-flopping politician than rising star.

About a year ago, I contacted him regarding badly-needed ballot access reform in Pennsylvania. Did you know that last year the law required only 2,000 signatures for a Democrat or Republican to get on the statewide ballot, but third parties and independents needed over 67,000? This atrocious law flies in the face of the constitutional mandate that "All elections shall be free and equal". Fortunately, there is a cure for this bad ballot situation, the Voters' Choice Act ( which would restore the equality of elections.

As a sitting member of the House State Government committee, Shapiro was in the perfect position to advance the cause of good government, so I personally delivered a copy of the Act to him and asked if he would support it. He replied in writing (sic): "I support Free and Equal elections and I will vote in favor of the Voters' Choice Act." Yeah, right. Less than two months later, once hearings for the bill began, he changed his tune and refused to support the Act at all. He still refuses.

One doesn't have to look very far to find out why. Last year there was only one third-party candidate who had the moxie to climb that 67,000 signature wall, but Shapiro and his fellow Democrats would have nothing of it. They pounced on his petitions and had him thrown off the ballot for their own specious, self-serving reasons. Worst of all, they then fined the would-be candidate almost one million dollars for having the temerity to attempt to give Pennsylvania voters a third choice.

Where was Mr. "Good Government" Shapiro? Did he raise his voice in protest? Of course not. No doubt he was out celebrating with his fellow Democrats and slapping each other on the backs for having choked off democracy at the ballot box so thoroughly.

Pardon me, but this sort of behavior won't wash. Either you're in favor of good government or you're not, and Shapiro has now twice weighed in on the topic, both times on the wrong side. If he can be seen as a "rising star", then darkness must certainly have fallen in Pennsylvania.

Thirteen years ago, I ran for the very same state rep seat now occupied by Shapiro. Given his continued rejection of good government and his lack of the basic decency democracy demands, perhaps the time has come for me to give it another try. Or will he simply threaten to fine me a million bucks too?

Ken V. Krawchuk, Abington

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