Pennsylvania voters elect Supreme Court Justices, and Superior Court judges, on November 3, 2009, in partisan elections. The Libertarian Party has one nominee on the ballot for Superior Court Judge, Marakay Rogers. This is the first time a minor party or independent candidate has appeared on the statewide ballot in Pennsylvania in an odd year since 1993.
The party was able to place Rogers on the ballot this year because one of the Superior Court races is a special election. Pennsylvania does not require qualified parties to submit a petition in order to place a nominee on the ballot in a special election. The Libertarian Party is the only “qualified” statewide party in Pennsylvania, other than the Democrats and Republicans. It has that status because it polled more than 2% of the highest vote-getter’s vote for a statewide office in 2008. Normally, “qualified” status doesn’t mean much, because another Pennsylvania election law says “qualified” parties must be treated as though they weren’t qualified unless they have registration membership of over 1,000,000 voters. But, the law makes an exception for special elections, and the Libertarian Party has put that loophole to good use this year.
The last time a minor party had a nominee for one of the partisan statewide judicial races in an odd year was 1993. The Patriot Party placed Robert Surrick on the ballot for Supreme Court Justice. He polled 112,820 votes, or 5.38%.