Minor parties get victory in Pennsylvania ballot access suit

    A federal court order will make it much easier for minor political party candidates to get onto the fall election ballot in Pennsylvania.

    The ruling released late Thursday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel ordered substantially lower signature requirements for the candidates.

    Unless state lawmakers pass a new law, a minor-party candidate must submit 5,000 voter signatures by the Aug. 1 deadline to get on Pennsylvania’s ballot for president or U.S. Senate in November.

    That’s down from more than 20,000 under the state law being challenged.

    The decision was cheered by ballot-access advocates who regard Pennsylvania as harboring the nation’s toughest barriers to candidates who aren’t Republicans or Democrats.

    Republicans and Democrats needed just 2,000 signatures to get on the primary election ballot for president or U.S. senator.

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