Montgomery County Green Party
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 28th, 2020
Brian Gillen, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Noyle, Regional Coordinator email@example.com, 210-878-8605
THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY GREEN PARTY STANDS WITH JOHN WALDENBERGER AGAINST BALLOT SUPPRESSION
In order to get on the ballot during a normal election year, opposition parties are required to collect hundreds to thousands of signatures from registered voters on nominating petitions. Compared to the major parties, our signature requirements are significantly higher. In order to get the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) on the ballot in 2018, 5000 signatures were needed, compared to the major parties’ 2000. Similarly, when Nicholas Prete ran for Methacton School Board as a Green last year, his campaign needed over 80 signatures while his opponents had to gather only 10. These unequal standards are a systematic barrier to an inclusive government, specifically designed to make the process harder on voices of opposition to the status quo. In countries such as the U.K. or India, you can run for national office with as little as 10 to 25 signatures. The unique barriers to the ballot in Pennsylvania and the U.S. at large should be dismantled.
This is no normal election year. COVID-19 has created new challenges. It has compounded the injustice of the petitioning process all over the country, and particularly here in Montgomery County. Making contact with voters for a signature now poses inherent health risks. Several opposition parties joined together in court to ask Pennsylvania to reduce the signature count. PADEMS filed an injunction, and we were all denied relief. Despite the ruling, we persisted in gathering signatures to get our candidates on the ballot, and in many ways we succeeded.
Unfortunately, in the end, our Presidential nominee, Howie Hawkins, and his running mate, Angela Walker, were unfairly kicked off the ballot after a late appeal from the PADEMS — a blatant act of voter suppression. John Waldenberger, a Montgomery County Libertarian Party candidate for State Representative in the 53rd District, was a victim of similar tactics. The Montgomery County Republican Party, in particular two supporters of his Republican opponent, initiated a challenge to his nominating petitions. They were able to disqualify enough of the signatures on technicalities to remove his name from the ballot, forcing him to run a write-in campaign for State Representative.
This kind of suppression from the Republicans and Democrats would be completely unacceptable during a normal election. It is particularly offensive during a global pandemic. During the petitioning process, John went out of his way to reach out to his community during a time when many members were scared to open their doors. He reached out to Greens and Independents proactively, expressing solidarity despite our differences, recognizing that we are fighting the same unfair ballot access rules.
We condemn the Montgomery County Republican Party for excluding John Waldenberger from the ballot, and we stand with him in the fight for fairer ballot access laws.
– Montgomery County Green Party
For More Information:
Facebook: /montcogreens | Twitter: @MontcoPAGreens | Website: www.montcogreens.com