Pennsylvania Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate John Hanger Supports Easing Ballot Access

According to this story, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hanger said at a Progressive Forum on February 28 that he supports ballot access reform. Unfortunately, the other five Democratic gubernatorial candidates do not support it.

Pennsylvania easily has the nation’s worst law, on the question of which parties are automatically on the November ballot. The median law of the 50 states says a party’s nominees are automatically on the general election ballot if that party polled 2% of the statewide vote in a previous election. But in Pennsylvania, a party is not ballot-qualified unless it has registration membership of 15% of the state total (over 1,000,000 registered members). This law is so extreme, if the same law existed in Idaho or Utah, the Democratic Party would not be ballot-qualified. If that law existed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or the District of Columbia, the Republican Party would not be ballot-qualified.

The existing law on how a party remains on the ballot would be eased if SB 195 were to pass. Before 1986, Pennsylvania had an easy standard for a party to be ballot-qualified. For years between 1893 and 1986, a party was ballot-qualified if one of its statewide nominees in the previous election had polled a number of votes equal to 2% of the highest vote-getter’s vote. But in 1986 that easy standard was changed to 15% registration. Thanks to Randy LoBasso for the link.

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