Expanding democracy should be the goal
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals gave an overdue victory to minor political parties in Pennsylvania last week, when it found that they have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the state's unreasonably restrictive ballot access laws.
The Constitution, Libertarian and Green parties claimed that the state's draconian rules for third parties are unconstitutional, but the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that the parties did not have standing. The appellate ruling means the lower court will hear the constitutional argument.
That doesn't mean that the Legislature - comprising, of course, only members of the two major parties - has to wait to make ballot access fairer.
Lawmakers should repeal laws requiring many more signatures for ballot access by a third-party candidate than a major-party candidate, and the law that allows judges to fine third-party candidates found to have petitions containing invalid signatures. The objective should be expanding democracy through ballot access rather than using ballot rules to diminish it.