Before either of these cases can be reported, it is important to understand how ballot access works in Pennsylvania. First, political organization in Pennsylvania is divided into three categories: major parties (Republican and Democratic), minor parties, and political bodies. At present there are no parties technically classified as minor. That is because such recognition is attained only when a candidate achieves a vote tally of at least two percent of the highest vote in a district in a particular year. Neither the Libertarian nor Green parties attained the votes necessary to qualify in 2012, so they are not listed as minor parties statewide. Further, there will be no third party candidates on the Pennsylvania ballot for governor this year, thus assuring that no third party can claim minor party status until 2017 at the earliest. There are some benefits to being a minor party, such as having the party name appear as one of the party affiliation options on voter registration forms, as well as having the ability to place party candidates on the ballot for special elections.

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