Ending The Duopoly? In Pennsylvania, Perhaps

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review examines Pennsylvania’s draconian ballot access laws and the hoops and hurdles that block the path of allowing trans-partisan politics to become reality in America:

Making ballot access extremely difficult for their competitors ensures that the duopoly seldom is challenged. The race for governor between Gov. Ed Rendell and Lynn Swann, his Republican opponent — two miserable choices for governor — probably will not include independent candidate Russ Diamond.

To be on this year’s ballot Mr. Diamond needs more than 100,000 signatures on his petitions to ensure that there will be roughly 67,000 valid ones mandated by the state law.

Rendell and Swann each need to collect 2,000 signatures to be on the ballot. Diamond believes he can get the 100,000 by the Aug. 1 deadline even though he now has only about 5,000.

“It is draconian,” Diamond says. “It’s really high.”

Two miserable choices… that about sums it up. What’s awesome is that more libertarians are focusing on the biggest roadblock to election reforms: these stupid ballot discrimination practices. Lawsuits like this one are a major step towards that goal. If we can at the very least level the playing-field with the entrenched duopoly, we might have a better fighting chance at using our resources for advertising and actual campaigning, not just on getting on the ballot and then burning out our volunteers.

Oddly enough, I’ve been getting near daily emails from the Diamond campaign with loads of activity and have failed in my own duty to cover him (he’s running as an Independent, but from glossing over his surprisingly good-looking website, he’s a good choice for anyone looking for a real alternative in Pennsylvania). If he can get past this incredible hurdle of 100,000 signatures, his leadership in PACleanSweep should make him quite a formidable candidate.

  1. I stayed at Russ Diamond’s house once on the presidential campaign trail in 2004. It was Betsy Summers (the 2004 LP Senate candidate) and I – Michael was stranded in FL by Hurricane Jean. Anyway, tired as I was after a long day of interviews and speeches as Michael’s stand-in, I was impressed by the professional quality of Russ’s yard signs, push cards and local front-page media that he had been receiving for his races (Russ ran for both Congress and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in ’04).

    I met thousands of libertarians in 2004 as Badnarik’s Executive Assistant. Sadly, very few local or state campaigns were worthy of mention at the time, let alone 2 years later. Russ Diamond’s campaign(s) was one of them. If I was in PA, I’d be helping out. Good luck Russ.

  2. Russ is a great candidate. Even though he is not running as a Libertarian this year, we all wish him the best.

    Chuck Moulton
    Chair, Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

  3. The best thing about Russ is that he found the right moment and right cause to jump into the race. The PA Legislature voted themselves the 3am unvouchered pay raise, and Russ saw his opportunity. That, and given his experience from running in previous races makes him a great candidate. I seriously think he’s going to do well, even if he’s not running as a Libertarian this year.

    Maurice Reeves
    Chair, Bucks County Libertarian Committee