Ballot Access Eased For Third-Party, Independent Candidates

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Third-party and independent candidates will have an easier time running for office in Pennsylvania following settlement of a longstanding federal lawsuit. A judge recently approved the settlement that includes a provision that such candidates will need far fewer petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. Such candidates running for U.S. senator, governor or state row offices previously had to get at least 2% of the votes cast for the top statewide vote-getter in the last general election. That could total more than 30 times the number required for Democrats and Republicans. The court agreement caps the signature requirement at 5,000 for third-party candidates. They also no longer will have to pay for legal challenges, which have run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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