Minor parties get court win in ballot-access lawsuit

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A federal court is throwing out provisions in Pennsylvania law that minor political parties say make it unconstitutionally difficult for their candidates to get onto ballots.

The ruling released Friday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel targets the financial penalties that judges can impose on candidates for office who lose a challenge to their nomination papers, but he’s also striking down the state’s higher signature requirement for the nomination papers of minor party candidates.

He says the signature requirement isn’t necessarily unconstitutional by itself. But he says the threat of the court fines associated with submitting them discourages legitimate candidates, not just the submission of fraudulent nomination papers and petitions.

The Wolf administration didn’t immediately respond to questions about the ruling, or say whether it would appeal.

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