PA Green Party seeks Federal Court relief from unconstitutional election requirements
PHILADELPHIA – On May 15, the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) filed suit in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of PA, demanding relief from unconstitutional election laws which are impossible to meet under emergency COVID-19 measures declared by PA Governor Tom Wolf.
PA election rules require a minimum of 5,000 voter signatures for state-wide candidates to be awarded space on the ballot. This involves the effort of dozens of volunteers and hundreds of hours of labor to collect signatures in public before the early August deadline. Under Wolf’s stay-at-home order, volunteers will not be allowed to circulate in public, and there will be no public gatherings for them to attend.
Filing along with the Libertarian and the Constitution Parties of PA, the Green Party charged that the emergency conditions declared by Wolf will violate the First Amendment and the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The three political parties asked the court to allow access to the November 3 General Election ballot without the in-person signatures, because it will be nearly impossible or very unsafe to collect them.
"Completing the nominating process as presently required is now an improbable task given the circumstances that have been imposed by the Governor's order,” explained Tim Runkle, Green Party candidate for PA Treasurer. “These actions, although necessary to address the pandemic, are preventing candidates from obtaining access to the November ballot. Without relief from the court, not only will candidates be disenfranchised from seeking elected office, but the right of free and equal elections for the entire Commonwealth will also be violated."
COVID-19 has already killed more than 4,300 Pennsylvanians this year and infected many more. GPPA takes public health and safety seriously, and hopes for swift remedy by the courts and the Wolf administration to relieve the uncertainty regarding ballot access and to ensure Greens have the right to appear on the ballot. Therefore, the plaintiffs have asked the court to order the state to accept candidates’ nomination papers without the signatures.
"I think that COVID-19 has exposed many weaknesses in our political, economic, healthcare, and justice systems,” said Garret Wassermann, Green Party candidate for PA House District 45. “The voters deserve a real discussion and debate on what must be done to address those issues and rebuild. While Democratic and Republican candidates show little urgency, Greens offer real solutions. We are campaigning for single payer healthcare and a Green New Deal that will invest in our communities, address pollution and climate change, and create green infrastructure jobs as the COVID-19 crisis passes. I asked the court to recognize the extraordinary emergency circumstances we are under and to ensure Greens will be on the ballot on November 3."
The 2020 Green Party candidates are:
- Tim Runkle for PA Treasurer;
- Olivia Faison for PA Auditor General;
- Richard L. Weiss, Esq., for PA Attorney General.
Green Party legislative candidates are:
More information about these declared GPPA candidates can be found at www.greenslate2020.org.
Registered voters may offer their support for the GPPA's proposed legal relief by signing the Green Party's online petition at: www.gpofpa.org/dont_let_covid_19_keep_greens_off_the_ballot.
Contributions to the GPPA legal fund will be greatly appreciated in order to cover legal costs. The Green Party of PA (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org or email [email protected].