Greens, Libertarians win easier ballot access in Pa.

A federal judge's ruling will make it easier for Libertarian and Green Party candidates -- including presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein -- to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. (AP file photo)

A federal judge's ruling will make it easier for Libertarian and Green Party candidates -- including presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein -- to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. (AP file photo)

Presidential candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties will have an easier time getting on the ballot in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new ruling by a federal judge.

State election law requires minor parties to gather far more signatures to get on the ballot than Republicans and Democrats for all offices.

And third-party candidates can be forced to pay the legal costs of major parties if they get the minor parties knocked off the ballot.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel has already ruled that the combination of those requirements imposed far too great a burden on minor parties in the commonwealth.

Veteran election lawyer Adam Bonin said the Green, Libertarian and Constitution parties made an effective case in the suit.

“Requiring these candidates to have tens of thousands of signatures when that’s not required of candidates for the major parties was unfair, was a bit burdensome,” Bonin said.

Stengel ruled on Thursday that since the state Legislature hasn’t written new rules, he’ll have to write some for them.

The ruling means the Green, Libertarian and Constitutional parties can get on the presidential or U.S. Senate ballot this year with just 5,000 signatures. Under the old rules, they would have needed more than 21,000.

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