July 16th, 2010
In 2009, the Pennsylvania Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties filed a federal lawsuit against four aspects of Pennsylvania ballot access law: (1) some counties refuse to count any write-in votes; (2) the state arbitrarily refuses to tally the write-ins that are counted: (3) the state’s law that says only parties with registration of 15% or more of the state total are able to place nominees on the ballot with no petition; (4) the state’s challenge system, which makes anyone who files a statewide minor party petition liable for perhaps $100,000 in costs if the petition doesn’t have enough signatures.
On March 31, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel, on March 31, dismissed the lawsuit. He said point (4) had already been settled in state court. His decision ignored the other parts of the lawsuit. The parties then asked for a rehearing, on the grounds that his first decision had ignored most of the issues in the case.
On July 16, Judge Stengel denied the request for a rehearing. He said the parties either don’t have standing to raise the other issues, or that the case is not ripe. He cited no authority for his conclusions. His rejection of a rehearing is 8 pages. The parties will now appeal to the Third Circuit.