From the Philadelphia Bulletin:
When threatened with a legal challenge to the signatures on the nominating petitions, third party candidates do not have the necessary funds to fight back, said Bonita Hoke, executive director of the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.
“It is all too easy for major party candidates, with access to large sums of money, to successfully challenge the nomination petitions of minor party candidates who may lack the resources needed to defend their candidacy and pay the fines if the challenge is successful,” said Ms. Hoke.
A state Senator has introduced a bill he believes will fix the problem. The Voters’ Choice Act would standardize all ballot access requirements regardless of party affiliation.
“We need equal and fair access to the ballot,” said state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, the lead sponsor of the bill. “If I could get it to the floor, who could vote against it?”
This year, the state Libertarian Party had three candidates – gubernatorial hopeful Marakay Rogers, lieutenant governor candidate Kat Valleley, and senatorial candidate Douglas Jamison – knocked from the ballot after Republican Party supporters challenged their petitions.
A Green Party candidate for Senate, Mel Packer, withdrew from the ballot when faced with a legal challenge.
An independent candidate for governor, John Krupa, was challenged and withdrew from the ballot.