FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 9, 2012
Contact: Carl Romanelli 570 239 3914 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania Greens, Elated to Appear on General Election Ballot, Thank Volunteers, Stein/Honkala.
Party also condemns Republican challenge of Libertarian and Constitutional Party.
For the first time since 2004, the Pennsylvania Green Party has put candidates on the Pennsylvania General Election Ballot. Wednesday’s 5pm deadline for filing a challenge to candidate nomination papers passed with no challenge to the Greens. The result is that the Green Party Presidential team of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala will appear on this year’s ballot.
“We are thrilled,” advised Party Chair, Carl Romanelli. “Considering the history during the past eight years, we are a little surprised to see that the Democrats chose not to challenge our nomination papers. However, we view this decision as more strategic than benevolent. Our party retained a lawyer and we were prepared to defend our papers and the hard work of our volunteers,” Romanelli continued.
During recent years the Greens have been challenged by the Democratic Party in nearly every even numbered year. In 2008, as a result of a Grand Jury investigation, about a dozen employees of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were indicted, then later convicted or entered guilty pleas, for using millions of taxpayer dollars in the effort to remove Romanelli from the 2006 ballot. The same scenario was played out in 2004, regarding the challenge to Ralph Nader’s Nomination Papers in that year. Stephen Baker, a York County Green, said “We turned in quite a volume of signatures, the most since 2006. It would have been difficult for the Democrats to proceed with a challenge as it would have required expending considerable resources and would have re-opened the embarrassing criminality of the bonusgate scandal. The process for achieving ballot status, for third parties in Pennsylvania, is unjust and wasteful. Ballot access laws in this state must change.”
Romanelli reminded that many individuals contributed to the Greens collecting about 35,000 voter signatures. “We had so many of our longtime members working since early March to collect signatures, but we also had many skilled petitioners who did not participate, as the hard work in previous years was nullified by our candidates withdrawing from the challenge, rather than to defend it. This is clearly due to the regressive practice in Pennsylvania of assessing legal fees and costs on challenges not defended successfully. In addition, the excitement of our strong presidential ticket of Stein/Honkala assured we would obtain a suitable number of signatures.”
“The Stein campaign invested resources into Pennsylvania in order to augment the amount of signatures during the past month. Cheri Honkala, of Philadelphia, was a key organizer and was the inspiration of volunteers working the Philadelphia area,” offered coordinator, Hillary Kane.
“Things looked grim in June, but the energy and hard work of Jill and Cheri clearly put us over the top. These candidates are not only incredible organizers, but their message resonates with many working class voters. In fact, our candidates were willing to be arrested in order to expose the predatory foreclosure practice employed by Fannie Mae and big banks, to the detriment of families. We are delighted that Pennsylvania voters will have another option this November,” Kane continued.
Despite its success this year, Greens were quick to condemn the challenges brought by the Republican Party, against both the Constitution Party and the Libertarians. “It is clear that the Republican Party of PA will go to any length in order to manipulate the vote. For example, the petition challenges this year, combined with the passing of Voter ID in a close, partisan vote; shows just how determined the Republicans are to mute dissenting voices. Between both of these actions we see nearly one million Pennsylvania voters being disenfranchised. We find that shameful and believe any party worth its rhetoric would not engage in such machinations,” suggested Romanelli.
The Green Party, as well as the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party, are co-plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the practice of assessing fees on candidates in petition challenges. The parties are seeking to have such a practice voided as unconstitutional. The Greens pride themselves on the fact they will not take special interest money, but rather accept only donations from individuals.
For more information on the Green Party, see: www.gp.org or www.gpofpa.org
For more information on the Stein/Honkala campaign, see: www.jillstein.org