July 30, 2012

Jill Stein to hand in insane number of signatures to get on PA ballot- 1 day early

Via PhillyNow

After a last-minute signature drive, the Green Party of Pennsylvania will hand in signature petitions to get on the presidential ballot tomorrow—a day earlier than expected and required.

Petitions are due Wed., Aug. 1 to get the Green Party’s presidential ticket of Dr. Jill Stein andCheri Honkala on the ballot. But according to the Green Party of Pennsylvania’s team coordinator Hillary Kane, those signatures will go to the Pennsylvania Department of State tomorrow. “That’s the plan,” says Kane, whonoted just two weeks ago the party had collected about a quarter of the required signatures for ballot access.

Third and independent parties that want to put a candidate on the ballot in Pennsylvania are required to hand in the number of signatures equaling two percent of the highest vote-getter in the previous state election. This year, that number stands at 20,601 signatures for ballot access. However, due to the legal challenges that grassroots ballot petitions in the state often face from establishment candidates, would-be political candidates of all stripes now consider it a practical buffer to gather about double the number of signatures required.

In 2006, Green Party senatorial nominee Carl Romanelli handed in was required 67,070 signatures—the most in Pennsylvania history—handed in over 100,000 and was still kicked off the ballot by lawyers representing the Democratic Party and candidate Bob Casey. Due to Pennsylvania law that requires rejected ballot petitioners to pay the legal costs of the party who challenged them, Romanelli still owes over $80,000 in fees to the Democratic Party, which he refuses to pay.

This year, the Greens’ goal had been to hand in about 40,000 signatures. Kane says they’re close. “We don’t know for sure [how many signatures will make it to Harrisburg],” she says. “My best guess is at least 35,000. We’re hoping for closer to 40 [thousand].” Canvassers, including members of the Green Party of Pennsylvania and Jill Stein for President staff, are still collecting signatures today.

Stein will join her veep candidate, Philadelphia activist Cheri Honkala, for a press conference in Harrisburg after handing in the petitions. They plan to appear in Philadelphia on Wednesday for a protest at Fannie Mae.

This post has been corrected with regard to the number of 2006 ballot signatures handed in by Mr. Romanelli.

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