PA: Democrat-Republican Ballot Purge Succeeds, Voters Robbed of Choice, Major Party Electoral Charade to Proceed in November

This week in Pennsylvania, third party and independent candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and US Senate were effectively purged from the ballot following a concerted effort by Democrats and Republicans to ensure that voters in the Keystone State will not be presented with a reasonable choice on their November ballots. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

John Krupa, whose claim to be the tea-party candidate for governor was questioned by other leaders of the movement, filed papers withdrawing from the race midway through a review of his petition signatures.

"He didn't have the requisite number," Krupa's lawyer, David Montgomery of Pittsburgh, acknowledged Monday after lawyers for the Lock Haven tavern owner and his challengers spent the weekend sifting through his petitions.

Mel Packer, the Green Party nominee for the Senate, said he decided to withdraw because he lacked enough surplus signatures to defend his petitions against a concerted challenge by Democratic nominee Joe Sestak, a member of the House who beat incumbent Arlen Specter in the May primary. Packer said he did not have a lawyer or the money or time to represent himself.

"I can't afford that," Packer, a physician's assistant in the emergency room of a Pittsburgh hospital, said in a telephone interview. "I'm 65 years old. I'm still working. I've got kids in college."

Pennsylvania law requires third-party and independent candidates for governor and Senate to collect 19,082 voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Major party candidates need only 2,000 signatures, but they must win often-contested statewide primaries to be nominated for the general election. [Emphasis added.]

A number of Libertarian candidates for statewide office have also withdrawn from their respective races. From Ballot Access News:

The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party’s candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and U.S. Senator withdrew today, rather than face the risks of a challenge to their statewide petition. They were told that if they didn’t withdraw, and the challenge showed that they don’t have enough signatures, their costs would be between $92,000 and $106,000. . . . This means that Pennsylvania will be one of five states with no minor party or independent candidates on the statewide ballot. The others are Alabama, Washington (because of the operation of the top-two system), Kentucky, and New Mexico.

As noted by Newsroom Magazine, in a report on financial reform:

America no longer has a two party system — for what exists today is a one party system at war with itself. What’s best for the nation is rarely reason for any legislation or governmental action in the atmosphere of open warfare and derision. At it’s worst, America’s divided one-party political system delivers governance, legislation and sometimes judicial review by means of actions, laws and decisions framed more by the relative strength of political advocates than public need.

No comments: