Republicans Challenge Pennsylvania Petitions of Libertarian and Constitution Parties

On August 8, two attorneys working for various Republican Party officials filed challenges to the validity of the Libertarian Party statewide petition and the Constitution Party statewide petition. No challenge was filed against the statewide Green Party petition.

Fortunately, also on August 8, Oliver Hall filed a request for injunctive relief in federal court against the Pennsylvania challenge system. That case, which was filed on May 17, 2012, is called Constitution Party v Aichele, eastern district, 5:12-cv-2726. Here is the filing. Here are the exhibits that accompany that filing. Oliver Hall is the attorney for the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties in that case. A previous case filed in 2009 had resulted in a decision that the plaintiffs lack standing. In this instance, it appears logically impossible that anyone could think the Libertarian Party, or the Constitution Party, now lack standing. Without relief from the federal court, the Libertarian and Constitution Parties are placed in the dilemma of either withdrawing their petitions, or risking a judgment that court costs of perhaps $100,000 or more are owed to the challengers.

One of the attorneys who filed the challenge to the Libertarian and Constitution Parties is the same attorney who challenged the minor party statewide petitions in 2010, and who warned the parties that court costs might be as high as $110,000. In 2010 all the statewide minor party petitions were then withdrawn and no one ever determined whether they had enough valid signatures or not.

44 comments

  1. Jed Siple · · Reply

    The Libertarians turned in almost double what was required. They should have good standing to fight this.

  2. Tell the lawyers to stick it up their a$$.

    Turning in almost double; law of averages says at least half are legit…

  3. Curt Boyd · · Reply

    I hate my state. There is no law on the books that says this is legal, and there is no other state that fines petitions that are invalid, to my knowledge.

    I hope the Libertarian and Constitution Parties fight this with all they have.

  4. Reed Ebarb · · Reply

    @2 I second that

  5. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    I live in PA and if the LP and the CP are tossed off the ballot by the GOP I won’t vote Green. I’ll vote straight Democratic just to shove it up their A$$!

  6. I suppose the Democrats and Republicans don’t have to petition, and therefore can’t be challenged.

  7. Will Fenwick · · Reply

    I imagine the Constitution Party will be bullied off the ballot since they don’t have the funds to pay if they loose, but the Libertarian Party seems to have a valid petition from the number of signatures and is more likely to afford the $100,000 if they loose the case.

  8. I have confirmation. The Constitution party will not withdrawal our petition.

  9. “No challenge was filed against the statewide Green Party petition.”

    Is there still time for the Green Party’s petition to be challenged? I’m not saying that I want them to be challenged (I don’t), but I’m just wondering if it is still possible for them to be challenged in Pennsylvania as well.

  10. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    Keep in mind that Ralph Nader submitted more than 52,000 signatures — double the 25,697 required — when he was cruelly jettisoned from the Pennsylvania ballot by corrupt Democratic operatives in 2004.

    Anybody interested in the potential nightmare facing both the Libertarian and Constitution parties in the battleground state of Pennsylvania this year should read Theresa Amato’s “Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny.”

  11. Tom Yager · · Reply

    #9 Today was the last day for challenges, so the Greens are safe. Best of luck to the Libertarian and Constitution Parties. Submitting 42,000 signatures for a requirement of 20,600 would be overkill in any other state. If they lose, how can any number of signatures be safe?

  12. Will Fenwick · · Reply

    Assuming the challenger is a republican, he has no interest in seeing the Greens removed from the ballot in Pennsylvania since they mainly draw votes away from democratic candidates.

  13. “#9 Today was the last day for challenges, so the Greens are safe.”

    If the Libertarian Party and/or Constitution Party do not end up qualifying for the Pennsylvania ballot this year, it could end up being a good year for the Green Party of Pennsylvania.

  14. As in if they are the only other party that’s on the ballot besides the Democrats and Republicans, then the Green Party of Pennsylvania will be the protest vote party by default, and this will help them pick up more votes then they would have received otherwise.

  15. Richard Winger · · Reply

    I hope people will read the brief that Oliver Hall filed today. It is short and interesting. Use the links. I am optimistic that the whole Pennsylvania challenge system will be held unconstitutional very soon.

  16. […] Ballot access: “On August 8, two attorneys working for various R officials filed challenges to the validity of the Libertarian Party statewide petition and the Constitution Pa…. No challenge was filed against the statewide Green Party […]

  17. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    @15… I sure hope you are right! Next to the “Top Two” fraud this had got to be the most anti-alternative party law there is.

  18. Richard Schwarz · · Reply

    The Green Party have already filed their withdrawals and have not yet filed their substitutions. Doesn’t any potential challenger have 3 days to file an objection once the Greens file their substitutions? I’m not sure, but it looks like there’s something in the PA election calendar which alludes to that. I’d heard that nobody had asked to review their petitions though.

  19. Curt Boyd · · Reply

    Are the Greens running candidates for the other statewide offices in PA?

  20. I live in PA. In 2010 the bullied the GP & LP off the ballot. We should up at their houses and bull horned them. It was relatively fun. They better not this year. I guess I can always vote GP out of spite. I hope at least 1 of them manages to stay on.

  21. Curt Boyd · · Reply

    @20 – not only that, but Democrats bulled the GP off the ballot in 2006, and Ralph Nader in 2004.

    I’m hopeful that some resolution comes to the minor parties in PA. Is Sen. Follmer’s bill for easier ballot access still present in the PA Senate?

  22. Doremus Jessup · · Reply

    I’m thinking of the scene from Caddyshack where Carl Spackler tells Tye, “Smaels! Here’s how you deal with Smaels.” holding a knife, “You cut his Achillies tendon. From then on, he’ll always slice the ball. He’ll quit the game.” —- that’s how to deal with Republicans!

  23. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    It appears there is a problem with the dates on some of the petitions. Despite the time period allowed to collect signatures all being in 2012, some folks just put in the month and day but NOT the year. This could be an expensive mess without a favorable court ruling.

  24. Richard Winger · · Reply

    I appreciate all these good comments, but no one has commented on Oliver Hall’s brief, which is linked in the post. It’s a good read, not too long.

  25. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Too long for most posters who have very short attention spans! 😉

  26. Raymond Agnew · · Reply

    Hey Richard Winger do you know if Americans Elect has Ballot Access In My State of Pennsylvania? & could do the samething as they did in Oklahoma wit Gov. Johnson & Judge Gray? I am a Member of The LPPA & A Registered Libertarian In Pa. This Is BOGUS From The Corrupt Tyrannical R&D One Party System They Are Denying us Our Right To Vote These Bloody Tyrants!!! But any info on AE in Pa. Just Wondering as a backup, thanks, Richard

  27. The GOP’s mouth is writing checks that their ass can’t cash!

  28. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #26, Americans Elect didn’t petition in Pennsylvania. Generally Americans Elect only petitioned in states that have a party petition procedure. Pennsylvania is one of the bad eleven states that has no procedure for a group to petition, unless that petition lists candidates. Americans Elect never had a candidate. It theoretically could have petitioned using a stand-in, but Americans Elect didn’t even start any candidate petitions (even with a stand-in), except in Iowa and West Virginia.

  29. Mik Robertson · · Reply

    While it would be great, I don’t expect that the court will go along with the request in Oliver Hall’s brief. Clearly the Democratic Party made a conscious decision to not challenge the Green Party submittal, which was substantially thinner than the 48,000 signatures turned in by the LP. This just goes to show it is a partisan game that is being played so that the Democrats can claim harm by voter ID laws. The voters are the ones who lose in the game.

  30. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #31, Mik, why don’t you expect the US District Court to help out? Have you read Oliver Hall’s brief? 100% of the precedents are on the side of the parties, including two unanimous U.S. Supreme Court briefs. Governments can’t charge people to exercise their rights to vote and/or to run for public office. Mandatory filing fees are unconstitutional if there is no alternate method. The Pennsylvania challenge system forces minor parties and independent candidates to put their finances at huge risk if they exercise rights that are guaranteed. Even when the same three parties filed a similar lawsuit in 2009, the U.S. District Court Judge did not uphold the Pa. system. Instead he said the parties don’t have standing, since they weren’t petitioning in 2009. This time the parties not only petitioned, two of them got challenged. So standing can’t be an issue.

  31. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    I have to agree with Mik @ post #30. The LP and CP will get the boot and no court in PA will do anything to stop it. Fairness and justice have no standing in PA. I hope the LP and CP can find the $200,000+ they are going to have to cough up after they have been tossed off the ballot. This is the only way in hell that the Democrats get my vote! I have always hated the GOP more than the Dems and this just reinforces that view.

  32. I just posted on constitutionpartypa.com some details about signatures and the challenge. Here is the full link to the article: http://www.constitutionpartypa.com/ballot-access-challenge.html

  33. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Jody @ 33… your article did not specifically address what the CPPA intends to do. Is the party going to withdraw its petition rather than face the potential cost? It seems there is still a 12,000+ signature buffer even after the elections officials’ first cut.

  34. Yes a challenge is in the works. Also potential law suits against the challengers is being given serious consideration. It turns out the paperwork we were served with was dated for 2010 on the two documents we received.
    The 10 was penned over into a 12 on one of them. Also we have found the name Libertarian in the documents so we believe that they just blew the dust off of their 2010 challenge to the Libertarians, changed the name to Constitution Party, except where they missed doing it, and filed it against us. Pretty lame if not downright illegal.

  35. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    I am still a bit unclear. Are you saying the CP is staying the course and fighting the GOP challenge? Your above remarks didn’t quite say that. I realize there is a lot of money on the line as well as ballot access.

  36. Yes, we are prepared and willing to take them on. Evil must be fought and righteousness will always prevail in the end!

  37. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Thank you for that response! I sure hope the CP prevails.

  38. […] Ballot Access News: Republicans Challenge Pennsylvania Petitions of Libertarian and Constitution Parties […]

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  40. The the libertarians and conservative party need to do, insread of waisteing time is to get involved in local politics and then change the elections system from the inside.

    The election system is really unfair and anti liberty. And people should know that there is vote is meaningless in the electoral college for president as it only matters who the handful of selected representatives elect, not the popular vote.

    But, the popular vote is not what you really want anyway. Only residential land owners the reside in districts should have the right to vote. After all we are part of a voluntary union. And people buy into it buy purchasing a residential property.

  41. hanoverboxer · · Reply

    This really shows you what buffoons the Republican Party are here in PA. They actually think that by denying ballot access to the REAL conservative parties’ candidates, would-be Constitution and Libertarian Party voters are going to go ahead and just settle for Romney? The GOP are really THAT stupid??

  42. Scott Kuehne · · Reply

    Just goes to show you that our country is being run by black robed bastards hiding behind unjust laws that their litigating comrades passed against the public’s will in some legislature.

  43. Tyler Napier · · Reply

    This is the most ridiculous thing I hvae ever heard. I am so sick of the two-party crap. I want a better America for me and my future children. The only way to do that is to allow a third party to bring out the faults in the other candidates. Gary Johnson is the most sane candidate I have ever seen and he will get my vote in November even if I have to write his name on the ballot. A vote for you what you believe is right will never be a wasted vote.

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