Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections

Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections — The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PBAC) announced, today, Oct. 30, a new initiative that it says would finally fix and greatly simplify Pennsylvania’s complex laws controlling how candidates get onto the November general election ballot, as well as dramatically reducing the cost of administering elections, says PBAC. The new approach would reform Pennsylvania’s ballot access laws by following the constitutional mandate that “All elections shall be free and equal.”

Dubbed the “Political Party Equality Act,” its passage would establish uniform and reasonable ballot access requirements for all political parties as well as for candidates not affiliated with any party, says PBAC.

These measures include:

Eliminate taxpayer-funding of primary elections in Pennsylvania. All political parties would choose their own candidates according to their own party rules and at their own expense. The candidates so chosen would automatically appear on the November ballot.

Equalize the definition of a political party. Consolidate all types of political bodies currently defined in the Pennsylvania Election Code into a single category, “Political Party.” In order to be considered a qualified political party, two criteria would need to be met:

One twentieth of one percent (0.05%) of all voters must be registered to vote as a member of that party. Given current registrations, under the Act the list of official parties in Pennsylvania would only include the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties.

Their party rules must be on file with the Department of State.

Simplify ballot access for independents. Candidates who are not affiliated with a qualified political party would need to collect the number of signatures as currently outlined by law in 25 CS 2872.1 rather than using the current complex formula. The window for collecting those signatures would not change, and all signatures would be validated by the county or state agency that receives them, not by private organizations or individuals.

“The Political Party Equality Act would benefit Pennsylvanians in many ways,” according to Ken Krawchuk, a Libertarian member of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition. “Ending taxpayer-funded primaries would save the taxpayers the enormous expense of administering elections at almost ten thousand local polling places year after year after year. We so-called ‘third parties’ have always paid for our own candidate selection process. It’s time to level the playing field by having the two old parties pay their own way too.”

Regarding independents, Krawchuk added, “Current law handicaps ballot access for independents enormously by requiring them to collect an unreasonable number of signatures. That handicap can be removed by replacing the existing requirement with the same requirements that have historically been in place for the two old parties. This would encourage new participants in the political process and provide voters with additional choices at the ballot box. And requiring the Department of State to validate signatures would eliminate the threat of a financially-ruinous court challenge, such as what happened to Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Carl Romanelli, and independent Ralph Nader.”

Bob Small, a Green Party member agreed, “Every election, there’s a common complaint of a lack of candidate choice. Current ballot access law has the effect of keeping alternative party and independent candidates off the ballot. This can be fixed by using the same requirements that have always been in place for the Democrats and Republicans. This would help get fresh faces on the November ballot.”

“The PPE Act would combine the three contrived political party categories presently defined by the election code into one ‘qualified political party’ category,” emphasized Troy Bowman, a Constitution Party member.

“Under current legislation,” explained Chris Robinson, a Green Party member from Philadelphia, “small political parties must successfully compete in state-wide elections every two years. Otherwise, they are drummed out of the political process. The Political Party Equality Act will allow smaller parties to focus their energy on local and county elections, as long as their total membership falls within the required margin. Let’s make all politics into local politics again.” T

he Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition is an association of representatives from Pennsylvania’s largest political “third parties” and independent campaigns, including the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the America First Party, the Reform Party, the Prohibition Party, the Socialist Party, the Unified Independent Party, the New American Independent Party, and the Ralph Nader campaign, among several others. Information about the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition can be found at PoliticalPartyEquality.org.

Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections
Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections

Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections

3 thoughts on “Initiative Would End Primaries And Make Fairer Elections”

  1. I agree that the state should not fund, nor organize, party primaries. The parties should run their own, and pay for them themselves. If they use any public resources, whether real estate (eg, polling sites) or other resources, let them pay fees to the state.
    However, I do not agree that independents should have a vote in party primaries. If you want to vote for a party candidate in a primary, then declare yourself and join that party.

  2. My daughter and I were just speaking about this! I think primaries should be eliminated completely. Let everyone who wants to run be on the ballot. Let the results shake out in the general election held once per year.

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