Monday, April 10, 2006

Pennsylvania Libertarian Party denounces ruling on election law

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109
1-800-774-4487
www.lppa.org

For Immediate Release:
Date: 04/10/06

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or Chuck Moulton (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS


Pennsylvania Libertarian Party denounces ruling on election law


Harrisburg, PA – The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) must vehemently disagree with the ruling of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III upholding the unequal election laws of the Commonwealth. As a result of the denial of a request for a preliminary injunction, minor party and independent candidates for statewide office must collect at least 67,070 valid signatures for their names to appear on the November ballot.

Major party candidates need no more than 2,000 signatures to appear on the primary election ballot and winners need nothing further to appear on the ballot in the general election. Minor party and independent candidates are precluded by law from participating in the primary election process.

The most disturbing factor in this decision was the indication by the Judge that the current requirement reflects a legitimate interest of the Commonwealth. According to LPPA Western Vice-Chair Michael J. Robertson, "The legitimate function of the Commonwealth should be to secure the right of the citizens to choose their elected officials, not unfairly limit their choices."

Article I Section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth clearly states that all elections shall be free and equal. The inequality of current election law was highlighted most succinctly by Libertarian candidate for United States Senate, Tom Martin, when he asked, "If there was a football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, would it be considered fair if the Steelers needed 67 yards to get a first down and the Eagles only needed two yards?".

The LPPA holds the position that voters in the Commonwealth deserve choices on the ballot for their representatives in government. In recent elections, there have been many cases where only a single name appears on the ballot in the general election. There is a least one previous court case demonstrating that additional signatures are not needed for a qualified party's nominees. In reflecting on the decision, Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News and a leading expert nationally on ballot access legal issues, noted "Judge Jones was not as thoughtful as he could have been."

If there are to be requirements for candidates’ names to appear on the ballot, then the laws must be more equitable. The LPPA asks Pennsylvanians to contact their representatives and demand that they reconsider current election laws and adopt the Voters' Choice Act, as written by the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (www.paballotaccess.org). This will bring election laws in line with the constitutional requirement.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with over 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Please visit www.LP.org or www.LPPA.org for more information on the Libertarian Party.

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