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Why you should care

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition in seeking more choices for all of us on Election Day. Current Pennsylvania law makes it difficult for independent and minor party candidates to appear on the ballot — much more difficult than in most other states. The result is less political competition, less political dialog, and fewer choices to vote for in November. The current system is simply not fair and does a great disservice to the ideal of democracy and to the voters.

In 2006, independent and minor party candidates were required to collect over 67,000 valid signatures simply to get on the state-wide ballot in Pennsylvania on Election Day. Legally, Democratic and Republican candidates require no signatures to get on the state-wide ballot, and even the 2,000 signatures required for the Primary Day ballot are ridiculously smaller than the virtually impossible hurdle of 67,000.

Pennsylvania law needs to be changed by the State Legislature to lower the outrageous signature requirements. State Senator Mike Folmer has introduced the Voters' Choice Act which would bring about a fairer electoral process.

 
Voters Choice Act Fundraiser PDF Print E-mail

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition

www.PaBallotAccess.org

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

610-543-8427

PaBac presents Voters Choice Act Program on Friday, October 21rst at Shady Maple

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PaBac) will be presenting a Voters Choice Act program including a  Buffet Diner on Friday, October 21rst, 2011.  The Guest Speaker will be State Senator Mike Folmer, prime sponsor of the Coalition’s “Voter’s Choice Act”.

This will be at The Shady Maple Farm Market and Smorgasboard (shady-maple.com).  located at PA 23 eight miles South of The Pennsylvania Turnpike in Lancaster County.  This will also be a Fundraiser for PaBac.

The doors will open at 6pm, Appetizers will be served at 6:30pm, and dinner at 7, followed immediately by Senator Folmer’s remarks.  Complementary table space will be available for guests to display literature, but space is limited.

Admission is $30 per person in advance, by check or money order, which may be sent to

P. O. Box 449, Swarthmore, Pa., 19081.

To purchase in advance, call 610-543-8427. Admission is $40 at the door.  RSVP’s are requested so that a large enough room can be reserved.

All proceeds will be used to help modify Pennsylvania’s onerous Ballot Access laws that restrict Ballot Access laws affecting Independent and Third Party Candidates.

If you cannot attend, please take this opportunity to send a donation.

Questions and RSVP’s can be directed either to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 610-543-8427.

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition is a group of individuals and organizations committed to reforming the restrictive Ballot Access Laws in Pennsylvania to bring them in line with the Pa. Constitutional Mandate that “Elections shall be free and equal”.  Formed shortly after the 2004 Election Cycle, the Coalition includes leading members of the following Pa. Political Parties; The America First Party, The Constitution Party, The Green party, The Libertarian Party, The New American Independent Party, The Objectivist Party, The Prohibition Party, The Socialist Party, The Social Democrat Party, and The Unified Independent Party, along with activists from The Ralph Nader Campaign, among others.

More information about the Coalition and The Voters Choice Act can be found at www.paballotaccess.org

 
Newsletter Announcement PDF Print E-mail

Read and share our July Newsletter newsletter.

Featured articles in this edition include:

  • Voters' Choice Act Update
  • Announcement of September 9th Fundraiser with State Senator Mike Folmer
  • And, a call for Talent.
 
VCA - Pennsylvania Senate Bill 21 PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 28, 2011

For more information, please contact Bob Small (610-543-8427) or Ken Krawchuk (267-496-3332)

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PBAC) is pleased to report that their Voters' Choice Act has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate as Senate Bill 21.

The prime sponsor of the Act, originally authored by the PBAC in 2005, is state Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) of Lebanon. According to Folmer, "Both the federal and state Constitutions begin with the same three words: 'We The People.' In order to give the people a stronger voice in their state government, we need to eliminate barriers for candidates seeking office. No state makes it more difficult for third party and independent candidates to run for office than Pennsylvania. My 'Voters' Choice Act' significantly eases these restrictions."

The Act offers greater freedom of choice to Pennsylvania voters by making it much less difficult for independent and third party candidates to get their names on the November ballot. Under current law, Democratic and Republican candidates are required to collect between 1,000 and 2,000 signatures to get their names on the statewide ballot, while all others must collect as many as 67,000 signatures in recent years. But under the Voters' Choice Act, independents and candidates of political bodies would need to collect the same number of signatures as the candidates of the two old parties, and once a third party registers 0.05% of the electorate as members of that party (approximately 4,200 voters), their candidates may be nominated according to the party's rules, and at the party's expense, without having to collect signatures.

Ken Krawchuk, a Libertarian member of the PBAC and two-time candidate for Pennsylvania governor, applauded Sen. Folmer's initiative. "Why should one candidate be forced to collect thirty-three times as many signatures as another?" Krawchuk asked. "The only thing the existing law does is stifle competition at the ballot box and prevent new ideas from being introduced into the political debate. In a land that's known for freedom, how can such a thing be fair?"

According to Carl Romanelli, a Green Party member of the PBAC, "Passage of the VCA will demonstrate that legislators are serious about reform and leveling the playing field. It is heartening to see support for this legislation among Greens, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Reformers and independents. We are respectfully requesting all PA Senators of goodwill to lead this effort for Pennsylvania."

The PBAC encourages all citizens to contact their state senators and request that they co-sponsor the Voters' Choice Act, Senate Bill 21.

The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition is a group of individuals and organizations committed to building better government in Pennsylvania.

Formed shortly after the 2004 election cycle, the Coalition includes leading members of the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the America First Party, the Reform Party, the Prohibition Party, the Socialist Party, the Unified Independent Party, the New American Independent Party, the Social Democrats USA, and the Ralph Nader campaign, among others.

The purpose of the Coalition is to reform the restrictive Pennsylvania ballot access laws and bring them in line with the constitutional mandate that "Elections shall be free and equal." More information about the Coalition and the Voters' Choice Act can be found at PaBallotAccess.org.

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UNCOUNTED WRITE-IN VOTES PDF Print E-mail

UNCOUNTED WRITE-IN VOTES & BALLOT ACCESS

 

The flip side of the ballot access coin is that when candidates are denied ballot access by Pennsylvania’s unequal ballot access laws, and then choose to run a write-in campaign rather than give up on the voters they represent, they face the added obstacle that some counties in Pennsylvania won’t count the write-in votes that are cast for them. This makes the effect of PA’s discriminatory ballot access laws even worse than it would otherwise be!

There is a good chance your vote wasn’t counted if you voted for a write-in candidate. The likelihood of that happening depends on what county you live in and what candidate you wrote-in. Votes for more popular write-in candidates are more likely to be tabulated than candidates who only get a handful of votes. The law requires county boards of elections to tabulate votes and submit a certified tabulation of those votes to the Secretary of State. But the Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation (BCEL), which is the Department of State Division that handles this, has little ability to compel county election boards to count the write-ins. Some counties report a thorough breakdown with all write-in votes. Some counties report totals for popular candidates and combined total for all the other candidates. Some counties only report a combined total of all write-in votes for a particular office, without breaking out tallies for any particular candidates.  And a few counties don’t report write-in votes AT ALL!

Choosing not to count write-in votes is another way in which the election process in Pennsylvania is structured to discriminate against voters having meaningful choices. If it were not bad enough that PA limits your choices in the voting booth, they often go the additional step of not counting your vote if you refuse to have your choices constrained to whom they deem ballot worthy.

 

DID MY VOTE COUNT?

Curious about how your county handled write-in votes in the 2010 election?  The links below summarize the write-in votes reported in the certified vote totals reported by each Pennsylvania County Election Board for the 2010 General Election.

http://paballotaccess.org/documents/write-ins/pa_total_write_in_votes_2010.pdf
This link provides the total number of write-in votes cast in 2010 for: US Senator, Governor and Lt. Gov., with a breakout for Sam Rohrer’s campaign; each US House of Representatives seat; each PA Senate seat that was up for election; and each PA House seat.  It also lists the 8 counties that did not report any write-ins: Clarion, Clinton, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mifflin, Montgomery, Perry, and Philadelphia!

http://paballotaccess.org/documents/write-ins/pa_gov_con_write_in_votes_2010.pdf
This link details the write-in votes certified for US Senate, Governor and Lt. Governor, and US House of Representatives for each county.  Users are advised to access and read the notes (see below) which explain how to interpret the data in this document.

http://paballotaccess.org/documents/write-ins/pa_gen_assy_write_in_votes_2010.pdf
This link details the write-in votes certified for PA legislative offices for each county. Users are advised to access and read the notes (see below) which explain how to interpret the data in this document.

http://paballotaccess.org/documents/write-ins/pa_write_in_votes_2010_notes.pdf
This link provides some important notes for understanding the data, particularly a legend for what the color-coded categorizations mean.

 
 

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