Under Threat of Hundred Thousand Dollars in Court Costs, Constitution Party Withdraws its Pennsylvania Petition

On August 21, Pennsylvania attorneys for the Republican activists who are challenging the Constitution Party’s petition told leaders of the party that if they withdrew their statewide petition by 3 p.m., the challengers would not seek court costs. Therefore, the Constitution Party, which had already spent over $50,000 on its Pennsylvania petition, withdrew that petition. Court costs would probably exceed $100,000.

The party had submitted approximately 35,000 signatures. The state requires 20,601.

31 comments

  1. Ouch! That’s got to sting to Mr. Clymer.

  2. Yeah but $100,000 is a lot

  3. @1 yeah, this is a pretty big blow to an already beleagured Constitution Party.

  4. Robert Small · · Reply

    This means yet another voice in Pennsylvania is stilled.
    The Libertarians are still fighting the good fight while
    the SWP has turned towards a write-in Campaign.My party,
    the Greens, were, shockingly, not challenged!
    This is the same state which is still trying to get
    $80,000 from Candidates Carl Romanelli and Ralph Nader
    for daring to run against a major Party.
    I was there yesterday working for the Constitution Party, since the Libs had enough volunteers and I was,
    as a Green, basically a free agent.
    I plan to be there next Monday, if needed.

  5. Jonathan · · Reply

    Pennsylvania has got to be one of the most corrupt states when it comes to ballot access. Please share. The Republicans are really scared , they don’t want competition. what a shame for Freedom. Hope the Libertarian Party fights this and makes it . LIVE FREE .

  6. George Whitfield · · Reply

    It sounds like a form of extortion to me.

  7. Alaska Constitution Party · · Reply

    Remember the Liberty Bell lies cracked and silent in Philadelphia all these years…

  8. Reed Ebarb · · Reply

    Wait!!! Does anyone else see the connection? Maybe its just me looking at 2 states and I may very well be wrong, but Pennsylvnia is a battleground state…has tough ballot access laws. Louisiana isn’t, in anyway, a battleground state and we have some of the easiest ballot access. Just saying.

  9. Alaska Constitution Party · · Reply

    Remember the Liberty Bell lies cracked and silent in Philadelphia all these years…

    The Assault on One of the Chief Cornerstones of Our Freedom

    By Robert W. Peck
    Chairman – Constitution Party of Washington
    bobpeck.wordpress.com
    August 21, 2012

    The idea of freedom being under attack is nothing new. Our liberties, our God given rights and Constitutional protections have been under assault for some time now. However, while we have been busy running from one battle to another, our minds overwhelmed by the minutia of the multitude of issues that we are inundated with by television and talk radio hosts, I am concerned that one of the chief cornerstones of freedom has been under a more subtle and unpublicized assault. That assault began with mere hindrances, then onerous and even stifling rules and regulations and now some have begun to directly attack this essential element of freedom.

    The chief cornerstone of freedom that I am talking about is the ability to choose those who will govern us and to have our voices heard in the public arena of political debate. While none of our God given rights should ever be compromised, some can, from time to time, be infringed upon without loosing freedom as a whole. We may not approve of an encroachment in a particular area – a new rule or regulation, a new tax, the licensing of a liberty, etc, but so long as free and open elections still exist, the people have a voice and can even place onto the ballot and elect to office representatives of “we the people” who can right the wrong. However, once a people begin to lose access to the ballot, and thereby their voice in the public forum, then freedom in its entirety is in peril.

    We do still have elections in America and for the most part they are open to “we the people.” However, access to the ballot is not as free and easy as you might think and even the access that exists is under attack by some. For freedom to flourish, the people, the common man, every man, must be afforded equal opportunity to enter the public forum, have their name placed on the ballot and have their views and concerns heard in the political arena.

    Those watching the political game from the bleachers may not realize it, but getting a candidate on the ballot is not always easy. Ballot access laws vary from state to state. Depending on the state and the office being sought, requirements can range from paying a simple filing fee to having to collect tens of thousands of petition signatures. One thing is quite consistent in most of the states and that is the existence of a tiered structure that segregates citizens into different classes such as major parties, minor parties or independents, then applies different ballot access requirements to each. It appears that in the spirit of “equality before the law,” those who make the laws (Democrats and Republicans) have determined by their infinite wisdom that the best way to make sure that all the citizens are treated equally is to require that those who reject the established powers of the “major parties” and choose to identify with another group, party or individual, are assigned second class status and given extra hoops to jump through before they can appear on the ballot and enjoy being treated equally.

    While this practice has not eliminated the ability of those outside the “major party” establishment to appear on the ballot and have their opinions heard, it has greatly hindered those who dissent from the views of the dominant political powers from entering the public forum. While this practice cannot exactly be labeled as dictatorial or totalitarian, it certainly does favor the creation of an oligarchy that has over the years gathered to itself ever increasing power.

    However, it appears that simply having the playing field tilted in their favor is no longer enough to satisfy the lust of some who love power as they have now begun to resort to lawsuits in an attempt to remove competitors from the ballot.

    It’s funny, but as those who lust for power get more and more of it, they grow increasingly fearful of losing their position of power, so they resort to ever more oppressive tactics in an attempt to get even more power in the hope that it will enable them to retain the power that they have. I have personally witnessed this very phenomenon in individuals who lie, cheat and seek to control others on a personal level.

    It can be seen in the pages of history as well. King Saul, knowing that he had disobeyed God and had been rejected from being king over Israel, busied himself with attempts to kill David thinking he could thwart God’s plan for replacing him by killing the man that God had anointed to take his place. Dictators and tyrants throughout history, Joseph Stalin being a good example, have kept themselves busy falsely accusing and executing individuals or even wiping out whole districts or segments of the population for fear that someone might be plotting against them and they might lose their grip on power. It shouldn’t be surprising though as Satan himself, the ultimate and original power monger, is growing, and will grow, ever more wild and frantic in his attempts to hold on to power over men as he sees his inevitable demise approaching at the end of this age and the power that he lusted for slipping through his fingers. Actually, tyrants and oppressors are merely reflecting the nature of Satan, the one who taught them to trust in and lust for power in the first place.

    In similar fashion, some in America who trust in political might and who are unwilling to share even the crumbs of it that fall from their table, are now engaging in overt attacks on the right of “we the people” to access the ballot and take part in the political debate. They are challenging the ballot access efforts of some third party candidates in an attempt to have them blocked or thrown off the ballot despite their having cleared monumental hurdles in acquiring the necessary number of ballot access petitions. One third party official personally admitted to me that this year’s attacks against the party’s ballot access efforts are unprecedented in the party’s 25 year history.

    In Virginia, the Board of Elections has asked the state’s Attorney General to “investigate” the petitions being submitted by the Constitution Party to have its Presidential candidate, former Congressman Virgil Goode, placed on the ballot. Interestingly, the challenge coincides with the first time in the party’s history that it has had a Presidential candidate shown to be polling at 9% and deemed to have a probability of effecting the outcome of the election in that state. A longtime Democrat strategist was quoted in a Washington Times article as saying, “You’d have to be on the Mars rover not to know that Republicans don’t want Goode on the ballot.”

    The Constitution Party of Virginia has issued a statement requesting that the Virginia Attorney General investigating the matter, also look into whether state election officials were influenced by or working with political operatives.

    In Pennsylvania, the Republican Party has directly challenged the ballot petitions submitted by both the Constitution and Libertarian parties despite the fact that both parties submitted far more signatures than required by the already onerous ballot access laws of that state. An Associated Press article titled, Republicans Work to get Third-Party Hopefuls off State Ballot, points out that “analysts say Republicans are probably worried that conservatives dissatisfied with their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, will defect to Constitution or Libertarian party candidates.” That assessment is validated by the fact that the Republican Party chose to challenge only the two parties most likely to snatch up conservatives who are repulsed by the idea of voting for Romney, but no similar challenge was issued to any of the left leaning third parties.

    In a thinly veiled attempt to justify the action, a Republican spokeswoman offers the absurd claim that they are concerned that Democrats are behind the petitions. Oh yes, those pesky Democrats are always going around putting pro-liberty, pro-Second Amendment, pro-life and pro-Constitutionallylimited government candidates on the ballot.

    To add an intimidation factor, the Constitution and Libertarian parties are under threat of having to pay the Republican Party’s court costs should the Republican Party succeed in denying these parties access to the ballot. The Republican Party has employed three law firms and is represented by five attorneys, putting Constitution and Libertarian party folk, whose chief assets consist of the shirt on their back, at risk of having to pay perhaps as much as $100,000.

    In California, the newly implemented “top two” primary election system has effectively hamstrung the ability of any new parties to get on the ballot. The measure that implemented the top two primary was backed by business interests, health insurance corporations and “liberal Republican millionaires, like Charlie Munger Jr.” in the words of one article. Interestingly, the ACLU of Southern California is now going to bat for disenfranchised voters and third parties, suing the California Secretary of State on behalf of the Justice Party and the Constitution Party of California, which seek to have their nominees for President included on the November ballot.

    On a brighter note, a victory for this most fundamental of freedoms has been won in Tennessee, but not without a fight. In 2010 a federal judge struck down the state’s ballot access law as unconstitutional. So what was the response from the Tennessee General Assembly? Pass a new law that still puts minor party and independent candidates at a disadvantage. In the wake of a suite against the new law by the Constitution and Green parties, a court has declared the state’s new ballot access law to also be unjustly oppressive of “we the people’s” right to access the public ballot and further deemed the law a violation of freedom of speech.

    A Tennessee attorney involved in the case who is a seasoned veteran of both the court room and the political arena, stated that he was “amazed at how hard the state and its AG [attorney general] has fought to keep any dissenting voice from being on the ballot. Not just the CP [Constitution Party] but also the Greens and Libertarians. Not challenging our signatures but appeal of every court decision in our favor as long as possible, filing motions to make the appeal last longer, and objecting to attorney fees etc.”

    I am hopeful that the current assault on third party candidates in Virginia and Pennsylvania will be thwarted and that the right of “we the people” to access the ballot will be upheld. However, the fact remains that these and other candidates seeking to bring an alternative voice to the political debate will not be on the ballot in several states where third party and independent candidates have effectively been legislated out of existence. Even when they manage to overcome onerous ballot access requirements, they are still at risk of being sued off the ballot by “major parties” who threaten to huff and puff and blow their house down.

    I’ll be the first to admit that we need to be thankful for the level of freedom and access to the ballot that we have in America, but we also need to jealously defend the freedom that we have and work to restore the rights that have been subverted. Just because there is more than one candidate on the ballot, or even more than one party, it doesn’t mean you have truly free elections. Free elections only exist when every citizen and every group of citizens have the same access to the ballot and the same ability to have their voices heard as the dominant political powers of the day.

    A chief cornerstone of our freedom, of our republican form of government and of our right to have our voice heard in the political arena, is indeed in peril and the assault is coming from the established political powers who seem unwilling to share access to the public ballot with “we the people.”

    If you agree with the content of this article, please forward, post and publish far and wide. If you don’t, who will?

    © Robert W. Peck

    No one wants America blessed, prosperous and free more than the Creator who still loves us. Yet God will not share His glory with another (Isa 42:8). Do not expect Him to heal our land while we are trusting in man’s ability or the power of political institutions more than we are trusting in Him (Ps 118:8-9). America! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov 3:5-6)

  10. Curt Boyd · · Reply

    Something has to be done to end this. I hope the Libertarian Party wins their challenge and gets on the ballot. PA is worse than Communist Russia when it comes to elections!

  11. An Alabama Independent · · Reply

    Just more reason why I am not a Republican

  12. Very disappointing that the Constitution Party backed down. Kind of surprising too in the sense that they hoped to do well in Pennsylvania, since their VP is from the same state. They should have stood firm and even risked going into great debt in the face of this tyranny. Instead, they were intimidated by tyranny.

  13. It’s always easy to see who the powers that be are in any given state. With the Republicans in control of Pennsylvania, the Libertarian and Constitution Parties have their petitions challenged, while the Green Party gets a pass. How much would you like to bet that if the Democrats were in power the Libertarian and Constitution Parties would be on the ballot and the Green Party would have gotten challenged?

  14. Did they not have enough volunteers to help count the petitions? Were they that sure of failure?

  15. upstartgreen · · Reply

    To paraphrase Kennedy: Those who make peaceful change impossible ensure it will be violent.

  16. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    @ 16… see #4 above. He is a Green working for the CP so my guess is they did not have 20 CP members answer the call.

  17. Mark Seidenberg · · Reply

    It is interesting that the Constitution Party if true is
    trying to get the ticket of Goode/Clayner on the ballot
    in 2012 in California. Please post details. I can not
    see why the Constitution Party of Penn. wimped out. If
    the Constitution Party did not through its money away circa 2008 to 2010 in three lawsuit in California against the Chairmen of the American Independent Party
    of California they would have the funds to handle a
    race of Goode/Clymer in Penn. State. Both Virgil Goode
    and James Clymer are good men and should be on the ballots in both California and Pennsylvania. I would
    like to see Goode, Hoefling, and Paul be the top three
    and go to the House of Representatives after the Electorial College fails to pick a POTUS. America would
    be the better for it.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Chairman,
    American Independent Party of California

  18. GOP Republicans are gutless to stand up to the voters of their state.

  19. Free and Open Elections my A _ _ .Another reason I left the Republican Party. But I wish the Constitution Party would stand and fight on this one. Very disappointed in this decision. Talk is cheap.Lawsuits aren’t.

  20. Illinois Socialist · · Reply

    If the Constitution Party had almost 15,000 more signatures than they needed why did the fold so easily?

    If they won would they still have to pay court costs? Why couldn’t they make the Republicans pay the court costs?

  21. Craig M. · · Reply

    If the confidence level with 35,000 signatures to need 20,601 is too low, how many more would be needed? A total of 50,000? Moving on, it seems like what needs to happen is to use Senate-sized campaign budgets to run in the state legislative races. That way more and more state legislative seats can be won and soon their will be enough elected Constitutionalists in Penn that ballot access laws can be changed. This strategy needs to happen in other states as well. I was reminded about an hour ago that “everybody loves a winner”. Perhaps not literally true, it does contain a large element of truth. CST members need to pick one or two people (in addition to Mr. Goode) to support financially so that Richard can report these victories in November. Winning state and local races will encourage the members and others will see the CST as a party who can win office!

  22. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    It is interesting you asked rhetorically “how many signatures are enough? 50,000?” Because that is what the LP submitted and they still were challenged. The system is flawed because there is NO COST for initiating the challenge regardless of outcome. That is grossly unfair!

  23. Joe Murphy · · Reply

    The CP of Pa had enough volunteers the first day but there were not enough computers to handle everyone. I thank the green party member for helping, we had a lot of people new to this process so on the first day we did not do so well. The second day went better, but the Repubs were challenging most of the signatures. We did not feel that the court would rule in our favor with so many in dispute, we would have had to win almost all of the disputed signatures. The whole process is rigged against third parties and independents. We need to combine our efforts to tear down this wall in ballot access. Many of the repubs I was working with were nice, but they were there to deny me and the rest of Pa a right to vote for the candidate of my choice. I wish the Libertarians luck and the dems or repubs will never receive my vote again. The system is broke.
    Also, the CP did not “back down” or were “wimps” we were not going to have enough signatures to get on!!!!!
    To Mark Seidenberg …you are part of the problem..so quit saying one thing online then doing something else when you had a chance to help Virgil Goode..instead you nominated Tom Hoefling???? how many states will he be on?? You and your party may have a ballot line(through no work of your own)but you are a pathetic group of seven people..its a shame you were put in the position you are in..so say what you want, I dont care!!!

  24. Craig M. · · Reply

    Joe, thanks for helping me understand. Today, after getting angry (righteous indignation), I moved to a mode of determination. Next year, if the PA CST has $50,000 at its disposal, it can go negative (by using the 50K to lobby Dems to change ballot access laws, with the negative consequence of fattening the wallets of opposing candidates) or can go positive, putting the 50K into the campaigns of 3 or 4 CST legislative candidates to get them on the ballot and win!
    Last week USA Today had an article stating that 90 million citizens over 18 will not vote in the election. I did not read more than a few paragraphs but when most elections are between a person who prefers a large central gov’t, unconstitutional wars, higher taxes, stimulus plans, and amnesty versus a candidate who increases the number of workers in the Fed Gov’t, supports nation building, further borrowing of money, stimulus plans, and does nothing to stop illegal immigration, there doesn’t seem to be much of a choice anyhow…..

  25. is there any way they could get on now richard?

  26. The GOP thinks they have a chance to win PA so they play hardball-this is just basic human nature at the tribal level.Rather than whine, the thing to do is to form an advocacy group for Approval Voting in PA-at least for the top of the ticket.

    Hardball. Does anyone recall how Rahm Emmanuel got elected as Mayor of Chicago despite the fact that he wasn’t a legal resident of the city?

  27. […] challengers of the petition if they are successful and it seemed like they were likely to. So on August 21st, the Constitution Party’s attorneys withdrew the petition in a deal with the challengers that […]

  28. Raymond Agnew · · Reply

    To Become a Major Party In My State of Pennsylvania We Need 15% of all Registered Voters That’s about 600,000 Registered voters in The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania We Have about 50,000 If every Libertarian Would register just 15 people each we would not have to go though this B.S. We Need Massive Voter Registration Drives in every state in the Union To Put An End To The Tyrannical Totalitarian Two Headed Serpent Of The One Party System Once & For All! Can anyone say LP SUPERPAC VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE LIBERTARIAN ACTION SUPERPAC!

  29. Just wondering who is running in the Constitution Party ? Can I still get signs to make known ? as Pa. is a write-in state ! please contact me genej@live.com

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