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Pennsylvania Hearing to Remove Barr Changed to September 5

Published on August 30, 2008, by in General.

The Republican Party challenge to Bob Barr’s Pennsylvania ballot position has been moved from September 4 to September 5 (Friday). It will be at 10 a.m. in Courtroom One, Widener Bldg., 1339 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Experienced election law attorney Sam Stretton will be defending Barr. The objector does not dispute the validity of the statewide Libertarian petition. Instead, he says it was improper to use a stand-in presidential candidate in the period June and July, because by then the Libertarian Party knew who its real presidential candidate would be. But, under that theory, the party would have been stuck with two separate petitions, one listing Rochelle Etzel for president, and another one listing Bob Barr for president. Neither one would have had enough signatures, and there is no procedure for combining two different petitions with different names on them.

Stand-ins are well-recognized in Pennsylvania law. All petitions carry a substitution committee, which has the authority to appoint the new nominee after the stand-in withdraws.

3 Responses

  1. Tom Jeffers

    Dear Independent and Third-Party Voters, Candidates, and Supporters –
     
    A “Thank You” / appreciation event is scheduled at the law office of Cumberland County Republican Chairman Victor Stabile for his lawsuit contending that Presidential candidate Bob Barr should be disqualified from the ballot this November.  His office is in downtown Harrisburg.  All Independent and third-party voters, candidates, and supporters are encouraged to attend. 
     
    Who, What, When, Where, Why?
     
    Who:  All Independent and Third-Party Voters, Candidates, and Supporters –
     
    What:  You’re invited to express your sincere gratitude to Mr. Stabile for once again spotlighting the unfair, unconstitutional, and undemocratic ballot-access laws imposed on Independents and third parties in the state of Pennsylvania.  The hearing for Stabile vs. Barr will be the day of the “Thank You” rally.     
     
    The event will be filled with over-sized “thank-you” cards and balloons, which will then be presented to Mr. Stabile.  This will be a “silent” event.  There might be cake.       
     
    When: Thursday, September 4th, 6:30 AM – 8:00 AM (media at 7:00 AM)  Why 6:30 AM?  See below.*   At 8:00 AM, we will march to the capitol, 3 blocks away, for a quick rally. 
     
    Where:  Victor Stabile’s office, at Dilworth Paxson LLP. 112 Market Street, Harrisburg, at the Graystone Bank Building, just off Front Street.  See press release forthcoming.    
     
    What Else:  Bring video cameras and cameras.  We will not be securing a permit.  Donuts and coffee will be provided.   Bring BIG markers to write a personal “thank you” card.  Poster boards will be provided. 
     
    Official Press Release Forthcoming.
     
    Email jgordon@panetwork.com with any questions and please RSVP. 
     
     
    *6:30 AM? Here’s why:
     
    A. Free parking
    B. Ample parking on the streets at that time  
    C.  Before Harrisburg rush-hour traffic
    D.  It’s before everyone’s day to get to work (little, if any, time off needed) 
    E.  Catch traffic coming into Harrisburg from 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM 
    F.  Media catch for 12:00 PM news, maybe sooner
    G. Catch Victor Stabile’s staff going in
     

  2. Mik Robertson

    This appears to be the first time anyone has made this particular objection in PA, to set aside a substitution certificate. There are a couple of cases that address the time frame to file the nomination papers and the Anderson case from 1980 does indicate that to not allow for the substitution of candidates would lead to an unreasonable result.

    The objection is based on intent. Did the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) intend to mislead and fraudulently represent the presidential candidate to the signers of the nomination papers after Barr was nominated in Denver on May 25, resulting in a subversion of the electoral process?

    The answer is absolutely not. The intent all along was to place Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot, and all of the papers were circulated with a duly nominated presidential candidate on the papers and a Committee to Fill Vacancies clearly identified on every page.

    The Libertarian Party had no recognized status under the PA election laws. There are only three ways to nominate candidates; by political party, which the LPPA was not, by minor political party, which the LPPA was not, and by political body, which is a collection of “qualified” voters of the Commonwealth. The “Libertarian Party” was not recognized under the election laws until those nomination papers were filed at the end of July. If Ralph Nader had filed papers that called the political body “Libertarian Party” before the LPPA did, he would have been the “Libertarian Party” nominee on the ballot.

    As it was, once the papers were filed, the presidential candidate on the papers withdrew, and Bob Barr was substituted, in accordance with the provisions of the PA Election Code. The Commonwealth cannot say the LPPA is not a political party then penalize the LPPA for not being a political party, which would happen if the objector prevails.

    Also, it cannot be the case that the election code would create different conditions for different political bodies based on the arbitrary dates of national conventions. If the objector prevails, Ralph Nader would have had about 150 days to collect signatures to gain ballot access, the LPPA would have had about 60 days, and the Green Party, which had their convention in July, would have had about 20 days to get a presidential nominee on the ballot.

    The real subversion of the electoral process lies in the objection itself. The Commonwealth has already created unequal election laws by creating different classes of nominees. At least for each class of nominee, including all political bodies, the rules should be consistent.

    The objection seems very weak, but that does not mean it cannot prevail. If it does, it would force all other political organizations into a different standard than independent candidates, which means the law would apply differently to certain political bodies as it currently stands.

    The objection certainly seems to be a thinly veiled attempt to remove a political rival from the ballot. The court should find the objection to be the frivolous and should further find it to be the subversion of the electoral process that it claims it is trying to prevent. It does not appear this case was initiated by a lone county Republican chairman. Is Commonwealth Court being mislead?

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