Third party candidates face challenges in Pa. election system

    Pennsylvania voters who don’t care for the Republican or Democratic candidates for Governor and Senate, are out of luck in November’s election.

    Pennsylvania voters who don’t care for the Republican or Democratic candidates for Governor and Senate, are out of luck in November’s election.

    Several independent candidates have withdrawn, unable to withstand challenges to their nominating petitions.

    Pennsylvania is rated as one of the most difficult states in the nation for minor parties and independents to get on the ballot, says Barry Kauffman, the Executive Director of the political watchdog group Common Cause Pennsylvania.

    “The major party candidates are required to collect 2,000 signatures this year and every year by law. There is a quirky formula in Pennsylvanian’s election law which says minor party candidates and independents have to get…signatures equal to two percent of the votes cast for the largest vote getter in the last statewide election. So this year the formula comes out to 19,082 signatures.”

    Kauffman says to level the playing field, the same number of signatures should be required regardless of a candidate’s political affiliation.

    Kauffman says the steep requirements and the major parties’ campaign cash enables them to bring legal challenges and get other candidates tossed off the ballot.

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