Pennsylvania Statewide Requirement for 2016 Will be 5,000 Signatures, with Severe Distribution Requirement for Statewide State Office

On June 30, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel issued an order in Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v Cortes, e.d., cv-12-2726. It says that for 2016, statewide petitions in Pennsylvania will need exactly 5,000 signatures. If the petition has candidates for the three statewide state offices that are up this year (Attorney General, Auditor, and Treasurer), they also need at least 250 signatures from each of five counties. If they do not, the presidential and U.S. Senate candidates named on that petition would be safe, but candidates for the three statewide offices would not be on the ballot.

It is bizarre for Judge Stengel to impose a county distribution requirement this year, because such a requirement does not exist in the statutory law (although it does for primary petitions), and the judge has been informed that there are 16 precedents striking down county distribution requirements, including one in Pennsylvania in 1979.


Comments

Pennsylvania Statewide Requirement for 2016 Will be 5,000 Signatures, with Severe Distribution Requirement for Statewide State Office — 23 Comments

  1. With or without the distribution requirements, it is great news. 5,000 signatures for a state that size is very reasonable. Consider that Michigan requires 6 or 7 times that many signatures. I would think that even some of the smaller parties may give it a try (Prohibition Party, Socialist Party, Veterans Party, Reform Party, etc.).

  2. Go Hedges! Get on the ballot in your home state!

  3. Thank you for staying on this story, Richard. Do the plaintiffs have the signatures already for their Presidential tickets? Have any of the plaintiffs suggested they might appeal as to those state-office distribution requirements?

  4. I’d suggest that the Socialist Workers Party should try to get on. Their VP nominee, Osborne Hart, is from Philadelphia. I’m happy that the requirements are lower, but I don’t like the 10 county requirement.

  5. 10 counties is only for Governor, which is not up for election this year. The other statewide offices need 250 signatures from five counties.

  6. FOR statewide races other than President, VP and US senate they need 250 in 10 different counties

  7. sorry, i hit send too soon…that is for governer…all other statewide races need 2500 sigs, 50 from at least 5 counties….so pres, Vp, and US senate need 5000…..Governor needs 5000 (250 from 10 counties) all others statewide 2500 (50 from 5 counties)

  8. IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
    THE CONSTITUTION PARTY : CIVIL ACTION OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., :
    : Plaintiffs, : : v. : : PEDRO A. CORTÉS, et al., : :
    Defendants. : NO. 12-2726 ORDER
    AND NOW, this 30th day of June, 2016, upon consideration of plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Doc. No. 90) and after four court conferences with the parties, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs’ motion (Doc. No. 90) is GRANTED as follows: until such time as the Pennsylvania Legislature enacts a permanent measure amending or modifying the process to place the plaintiff political bodies on the general election ballot, the following rules shall apply to the plaintiff political bodies, the Constitution Party of Pennsylvania, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, and the Green Party of Pennsylvania, with respect to securing placement of their candidates on the general election ballot in Pennsylvania:
    1. Candidates for the offices listed below shall present to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by August 1, 2016, and every August 1st thereafter until the Legislature enacts a permanent change in the law and this permanent change is signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania, nomination papers containing at least as many valid signatures of qualified electors of the state or the electoral district, as the case may be, as listed below:
    a. President of the United States: Five thousand.
    b. United States Senate: Five thousand.
    Case 5:12-cv-02726-LS Document 97 Filed 06/30/16 Page 2 of 3
    c. Governor: Five thousand including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least ten counties.
    d. Lieutenant Governor: Two thousand five hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five counties.
    e. Treasurer: Two thousand five hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five counties.
    f. Auditor General: Two thousand five hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five counties.
    g. Attorney General: Two thousand five hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five counties.
    h. Justice of the Supreme Court: Two thousand five hundred
    including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five
    counties.
    i. Judge of the Superior Court: Two thousand five hundred
    including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five
    counties.
    j. Judge of the Commonwealth Court: Two thousand five
    hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at
    least five counties.
    k. For any other office to be filled by the vote of the
    electors of the state at large: Two thousand five hundred including at least two hundred fifty from each of at least five counties.
    Case 5:12-cv-02726-LS Document 97 Filed 06/30/16 Page 3 of 3
    2. Candidates for non-statewide offices shall present to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by August 1, 2016 and every August 1st thereafter, nomination papers containing at least as many valid signatures of qualified electors of the state or the electoral district, as the case may be, as set forth by 25 P.S. § 2911(b).
    3. No candidate of the plaintiff political bodies shall be assessed costs under 25 P.S. § 2937.
    4. This Order is intended to replace the signature requirement imposed by 25 P.S. § 2911(b). The defendants are enjoined from enforcing this signature requirement in conjunction with the objection procedure set forth in 25 P.S. § 2937 as applied to nomination papers submitted by the plaintiffs Constitution Party of Pennsylvania, Green Party of Pennsylvania and Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and by their candidates for office.
    5. All other provisions of the Pennsylvania Election Code that do not conflict with this Order continue to apply to the candidates of the plaintiff political bodies.
    BY THE COURT:
    /s/ Lawrence F. Stengel
    LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, J.

  9. Thanks for clearing that up Jeremy. I was under the impression that the county ruling was for President as well.

  10. oh man, I left off the 2 hahaha…my bad…my eyes are going bad…I was reading the ruling on my phone.

  11. The worst part is that the ruling does not also lower the requirements for legislative candidates, but this is overall good for us.

  12. Thank you for posting this update! I have been lobbying my State Senator hard on ballot access reform for the last couple of months. Still waiting for the PA legislature to pass a law replacing the aspects of the Electoral Code that were found unconstitutional, but this injunction does provide relief for PA’s minor parties. The Green Party successfully made it onto the ballot in 2012, when >21K signatures were required. There’s no doubt that they’ll be able to achieve 5,000.

    Twitter @knowwhereIstand

  13. Great news — despite the distribution requirements. Now I hope the legislature will adopt the same rules — sans the distribution requirements.

  14. The order as written only applies to the Constitution, Libertarian, and Green Parties — so it won’t directly help non-plaintiff alternative parties. Of course, it might help other parties win similar orders — or influence the Legislature to apply easier rules to all alternative parties.

  15. If what Mr. La Pietra has posted above is correct then I guess the SWP and the Drys won’t be helped by this. Kind of too bad since each party has a “favorite son” on their ticket.

  16. See Moore v. Ogilvie, 394 U.S. 814 (1969) (equal regional treatment of electors who sign petitions).

    The Moore case was brought up in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 107 (2000).


    How about impeach the MORON so-called judge ???

  17. This is a momentous ruling – which I only learned about by stumbling on this website! Why did this get zero coverage in the media?

  18. So, where and when will you be gathering signatures. I am in the Philadelphia area and will gladly stop by to sign.

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