New team will take the party into the 2016 presidential election cycle — calls for ballot access reform
Members of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) elected new leadership at their 2015 Annual Convention in Bridgeport on Saturday. The new team will continue to advance the LPPA’s mission of smaller government and lower taxes as the Commonwealth — and the nation — prepare for the 2016 election cycle.
Shawn Felty (Schuylkill County) will serve as chair of the LPPA. Bill Sloane (Cumberland County) will serve as the western vice chair. Ed Reagan (Northampton County) will serve as the eastern vice chair. Karla Felty (Schuylkill County) will serve as secretary. Richard Schwarz (Philadelphia County) will serve another term as treasurer.
New LPPA Chair Shawn Felty issued the following statement:
“It’s a great time for liberty in the Commonwealth. We hear it every time we talk to our fellow citizens: Pennsylvanians are tired of a bloated state government that talks not about how to reduce its size and scope but, rather, how much to increase our taxes. Pennsylvanians are tired of bloated local governments that ignore the will of the voters and squander our resources.
“All citizens of the Commonwealth deserve an efficient, effective, and streamlined government. Only Libertarian candidates will deliver on that promise. The old parties will deliver only a continuous increase in the size, scope, and cost of government.
“We call upon the state legislature to immediately pass the Voters’ Choice Act, which will reduce the outrageous ballot access requirements that make it difficult for third party candidates to appear on the state-wide ballot each Election Day. Pennsylvanians deserve the opportunity to elect officials who will advance their interests and protect their wallets. Let’s level the playing field and allow the voters to decide.”
Current ballot access laws in Pennsylvania require third party candidates to obtain more than ten times the number of signatures as the old parties to appear on the statewide ballot, and the old parties will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening. During the 2012 election cycle, the LPPA, in conjunction with the national Libertarian Party, fought off a nine-week challenge to its slate of candidates — all designed to reduce voter choice and keep smaller government off the ballot.
Despite these ballot access challenges, the LPPA is excited to note that more than a dozen Libertarian candidates will be vying for public office this fall in local elections across the Commonwealth. All of them are committed to smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom – they represent a stark contrast and needed change to candidates from the old parties.
Outgoing LPPA Chair Steve Scheetz noted that “2016 will be an exciting year for liberty, and we have the opportunity to make Pennsylvania matter on the national stage! Shawn has shown the way in Schuylkill County; I am hopeful that his drive motivates other committees in the state to increase their candidate numbers!”
The national Libertarian Party Platform contains the following plank on representative government:
“We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.”
The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania is a member of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition and believes that all citizens of the Commonwealth deserve choice at the ballot box.