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Pennsylvania Projects - Ballot Access

There are two ways to defeat democracy, one way is by preventing citizens from voting, and the other is by preventing worthy candidates from appearing on the ballot. John Murphy

Harness your online research skills to gather the necessary information. Write a persuasive essay supporting your position.

Pennsylvania Constitution Article 1, Section 5. Elections
Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military,
shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

Consider that:

In Pennsyvlania in 2012, the signature requirement for ballot petitions for independent and minor party candidates was nearly 20,000. As compared to the major party candidates who need only 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot. This is 10 times as many signatures! In 2006, independent and minor party candidates were required to collect over 67,000 valid signatures simply to get on the state-wide ballot in Pennsylvania on Election Day. Legally, Democratic and Republican candidates require no signatures to get on the state-wide ballot, and even the 2,000 signatures required for the Primary Day ballot are ridiculously smaller than the virtually impossible hurdle of 67,000.

The Voters Choice Act calls for significant reform in current Pennsylvania elections laws. (proposed by Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition)
The stated goal is to allow the fair ballot access of minor party candidates and independent candidates.


Presidential Ballot access issues. | Presidential Ballot Access-A State-by-State Scorecard

Pennsylvania Minor Parties Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Take Ballot Access Case by Robert Winger, July 1, 2007

"On June 27, Pennsylvania’s minor parties asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the ballot access case that was filed last year. The case is Rogers v Cortes, no. 06-1721. The recent Pennsylvania case involves the fact that Pennsylvania even excludes parties from the ballot that meet the state’s definition of “political party”, unless those parties have registration membership of 15% of the state total. If the Pennsylvania system existed in the District of Columbia and in Massachusetts, even the Republican Party would be off the ballot, since it doesn’t have registration as high as 15% in those two jurisdictions."

Pennsylvania Ballot Access Laws and the Nader Candidacy in the 2004 Election article

Constitution Party sues over ballot access in Pennsylvania


The Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation oversees the Commonwealth’s electoral process along with:
Campaign Finance, Voter Registration, Office of Notary Public, Commissions and Legislation.

Get the facts:

What are the current laws regarding ballot access in Pennsylvania?

What are the issues relating to these laws?

Do these laws support the intent of Article 1 Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution?

Where do you stand on the issue of reforming ballot access? Advocate for your position.


"We no longer have vigorous and active third parties because Democratic and Republican state legislatures passed restrictive laws that make it exceedingly difficult for third parties to get on the ballot in many states. These laws usually require third parties to gather signatures for a petition to be on the state ballot, and they often place strict deadlines for gathering such signatures." Richard Winger

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UTD 8/2019, Posted 8/2006 In the spirit of Thomas Paine - released to public domain by Cynthia J. O'Hora

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