August 12, 2016
Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders tapped a strong current of dissatisfaction with the two-party system that has long dominated American politics. While making surprisingly strong showings in primaries and caucuses, they made legitimate complaints about the convoluted process used to pick presidential nominees. The process is mystifying thanks to arcane rules that favor more traditional party candidates. In many states, primaries give voters some degree of say in the process. But many primaries, including Pennsylvania's, are closed to independents, even though their tax dollars help subsidize the two major parties' way of choosing candidates.
August 24, 2006 |
The Green Party's effort to get on Pennsylvania's Nov. 7 election ballot was dealt another setback yesterday by a federal appeals court. While urging the state legislature to enact a "less ponderous means of ballot access for minor political parties," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia upheld a state election code provision requiring Green Party and other minor-party candidates to obtain 67,070 valid voter signatures to...
October 18, 2010
By Oliver Hall Pennsylvanians may notice something unusual when they go to the polls in November: Their choices for governor, lieutenant governor, and U.S. Senate will be limited exclusively to Republican and Democratic candidates. Only four other states' 2010 general-election ballots are so restrictive. What makes Pennsylvania unique, however - and suggests that something has gone seriously wrong here in the birthplace of America - is that the shortage of choices has been effectively imposed by the courts.
July 1, 1993 |
Chester County lawyer Robert B. Surrick will have an easier time getting on November's ballot as a candidate for the state Supreme Court after a federal court ruling yesterday. How much easier won't be clear until at least Tuesday, after a hearing to determine how many signatures Surrick - the candidate of the H. Ross Perot- inspired Patriot Party - will need to get on the ballot. U.S. District Judge Edward N. Cahn ruled that a portion of Pennsylvania's ballot access law is unconstitutional.
November 29, 1988 |
The official vote tally certified by the City Commissioners yesterday showed that Democrat Michael S. Dukakis carried Philadelphia by 230,513 votes Nov. 8, a margin close to that run up by fellow Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984. That year, Mondale polled about 234,000 more votes than President Reagan. The difference between the two elections, however, was that turnout this year was more than three percentage points lower than in 1984, according to the vote count certified yesterday.
April 6, 2016
Independents deserve a voice Independent voters are banned from voting in the primaries in many states, including Pennsylvania. We pay taxes like everyone else but can only participate in primaries when we switch our registration, as many are doing this primary season. It is maddening when political pundits refer to independent voters as swing voters and describe us as "disinterested in primary elections. " It is often said that independents are not really independent - that we end up voting Democratic or Republican.
March 26, 1986 |
Three statewide candidates for the Consumer Party will appear on the May 20 primary ballot because of an order yesterday by a federal judge, who told the state Elections Bureau to accept their nominating petitions. The order by U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro was a victory for the minor party and its founder, Max Weiner, who has been fighting provisions of a new state law that make it virtually impossible for the party's candidates to appear on the ballot. Under Shapiro's order, the party will be permitted to field its three candidates under the Consumer Party column: Bill W. Thorn Sr. for governor; Lance S. Haver for lieutenant governor, and Thelma R. Hambright for the U.S. Senate.
January 28, 2009 |
If you want to run for public office in Pennsylvania, and you're neither a Republican nor a Democrat, you'd better be prepared to bet the farm. Carl Romanelli learned that lesson the hard way after campaigning for U.S. Senate on the Green Party ticket in 2006. After a successful challenge to his nomination petitions by Democrats, represented by Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg charged Romanelli with more than $80,000 in litigation costs. Romanelli, a retired family court officer, says that would "destroy" him financially.
October 24, 2001 |
At first, Lisa Williams thought her husband was joking. Saying he's quite serious, consumer activist Michael Morrill of West Reading announced yesterday that he would run for governor in 2002 under the Green Party banner. He pledged himself to a platform of reform, including an $11-an-hour minimum wage for Pennsylvania workers, universal health care, complete state funding of education, and an immediate end to "corporate welfare. " "Both of the old parties consider themselves pragmatists, which is another way of saying they are too dependent on polling, focus groups, and the opinions of wealthy benefactors," Morrill, 46, said.
June 18, 1997 |
Without public hearings in the waning hours of its session, the state Legislature passed and sent to Gov. Ridge a measure making it tougher for third-party and independent candidates to challenge the supremacy of the two dominant parties. By overwhelming bipartisan margins, lawmakers enacted a bill to greatly increase - in some cases nearly quadruple - the number of citizen signatures that minor-party candidates need to get on election ballots. Republican leaders say the intent is to end "frivolous" candidacies and make the election law fairer.