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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

ACLU Appeals Stevenson Ballot Access Case

Last week, I told you about independent Carl Stevenson's battle for ballot access. Commonwealth Court Judge James Kelly has nixed his nomination petition challenging State Rep. Doug Reichley because 97 petition signatures were obtained by Jake Towne, who does not live in the district ... or on Planet Earth, for that matter.

For some reason, Judge Kelly ignored a federal case decided by Northampton County's very own Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, who now sits on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, just one notch below the U.S. Supreme Court. VanAnterpen ruled that petition circulation is "core political speech" because it involves "interactive communication concerning political change."

Yesterday, the ACLU announced it is appealing the Commonwealth Court decision denying Stevenson ballot access.

"Pennsylvania is one of the toughest states for independent and minor-party candidates to get on the ballot because they require such a high number of signatures," said ACLU legal director Witold "Vic" Walczak. "The state shouldn't be able to further handcuff candidates by imposing unwarranted and unconstitutional restrictions on who can collect petition signatures."

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