No Affiliation Alliance

Voting Law Reform by Robert Marcoccio

The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment has given the Supreme Court the perspective that voting rights is fundamental. This perspective limits the states abilities to define voter qualifications beyond citizenship, residency, and age.

The Constitution and the 3/5 Compromise

The Constitution and the 3/5 Compromise


Here’s a question for you….in the May 16th election there are hundreds of candidates running statewide for judge. Judges not to be political…do not identify with being a democrat or republican which technically makes them No-affiliation candidates. These no affiliation candidates –are by election board standards actually independents – but are listed on both the Democrat ballot and Republican ballots citing the Pennsylvania retention Law. The question I asked the Board of Elections was…I am registered as a no affiliation voter; can I vote in the election primary? The answer from the Board of Elections was –NO!

I then asked; since I was a no affiliation voter and the judges were obviously no affiliation candidates – why was I not allowed to vote in an election primary when I too am recognized to be a member of the democrat/republican parties as per the Board of Election standards? The answer? IT”S THE LAW!!! But is it a law? The Democrat and Republican parties are not the government. The Democrat and Republican primaries fall under the national party’s organization. The exclusion of independents from the primaries is not a Law – it is the policies of the national parties!

The voters rights act of 1964 that Lyndon B. Johnson signed to law that determined that intellectual requirements such as to read and write were discriminatory; How could a state law be maintained that prevents a no-affiliation voter from participating in an election that is balloting no affiliation candidates? The choice of a voter in expressing an intellectual objection towards their parties agenda; because their party had changed into something that is contradictory of the true party principals; is not a valid reason to deny any voter their constituted right to vote in a primary that is balloting independent candidates.

If candidates are not required to identify themselves as one or the other party; then why must a voter in order to participate in the primary election be forced by law to identify them as one or the other to participate in a free, open and public election – unless it is meant that judges will only represent democrats and republicans and no other? I understand the pretense in a judge not claiming one party over another – but these judges will be hearing cases involving more than a million independents in the state of Pennsylvania. Do we not have the right to participate in the choice who we think will make a better judge????

Independents have made an intellectual choice for one reason or another – and a judge could run as an independent in November true enough…but then that would defeat the no-affiliation of the judges in the Democrat/Republican primary by requiring the independent judge to identify his party affiliation. This is the hypocrisy of current election laws in Pennsylvania and if there is already a federal law that invalidates intellectual voter discriminations – then why is the State of Pennsylvania allowed to enforce this discriminatory voting restriction?!

This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“The merit retention provision of Pennsylvania’s constitution allows all but magisterial district judges to be retained with a simple “yes” or “no” vote without ballot reference to political affiliation. This provision was designed to remove judges from the pressures of the political arena once they begin their first term of office.” Actually removing party identification eliminates a judge being elected exclusively for party and supposedly for their qualifications and not exclusively because of party affiliation.

This provision though its intents are good does inadvertently create discrimination. Why a judge should be allowed to run without political identity – when his judgments will undoubtedly be influenced by his political beliefs is nothing less than removing the label so no one knows what is in the bottle. This is the purpose of registering to vote No-Affiliation so that our potential vote cannot be assumed – it is also a countering measure against party gerrymandering districts.

Once the political label is removed from the candidate the restriction that prevents a no-affiliation voter is too invalidated. A constitutional law cannot be made to allow candidates to run without party designation and a national party policy enforced to disallow undesignated registered voters to participate in that election. Especially when these voters are recognized by the State as members of the two major parties since the candidates by the election board’s definition are in fact No-Affiliation Independent candidates!

No matter how the state tries to spin this – a candidate not holding any strict party association is a candidate that falls under the Board of Elections definition as an independent candidate and all citizens no matter what political denomination have a right to vote in that election; or the election must be held separate from the Democrat and Republican primary election.

For the state to limit the choices in selecting independent judiciary exclusive to Democrats and Republican voters only invalidates the citizenship and constituted rights of other voters validated by LAW to be of the same independent party. All through our history these special requirements are formed deliberately to exclude specific groups of voters – they invalidate a constituted right of eligible and qualified voters to elect representatives of their own choice. State law cannot be used to give special privilege to national parties.

It is not the Pennsylvania state retention statute that is being disputed. There is nothing wrong with a judge running as a no- affiliate candidate but; the national party primary policies that exclude independents from voting in their primaries cannot use an organizational policy to prevent independent voters from voting for candidates in a public election balloting independent candidates.

The Board of Elections remedy is that independents can vote for their choice judges in November, but the Democrats and Republicans already chose the judge they favor. All the independent voters are voting is to choose from the candidates already selected by the national parties on May 16. Maybe one of the other judge candidates was more to my preference than those chosen by republican/democrats? More than a million voters in Pennsylvania have been denied our constituted right to choose our elected officials on May 16.

The intentions of reforming voting laws in Pennsylvania are not about making an equal and fair system for candidates. It’s about assuring that the voters are in fact not being exploited and coerced into choosing candidates strictly of party choice. The parties have proven to have unlimited resources when it comes to elections and it is more than fair assumption that those candidate choices rather reflect a minority rather than a majority; even by standards of popular vote majority verses the majority of electors used to validate the victory in November. Independents have been reduced to only voting for candidates elected in Democrat/Republican primaries by a national party code that is contrary to State and Federal Laws that justify independents are legally allowed to participate in any election balloting independent candidates.

Point is if the candidate is selected by the party and the party defends its candidate by establishing and enforcing voter laws that manipulate the elections. Can the state and federal Board of Elections claim the elections are open and free? There must be a way to protect voters from fraud, and corruption but in reality no law is absolute – there is always a loophole to be found but once the loophole is found it is the States responsibility to close that loophole.

The remedy I suggest is by eliminating voters from being mandated by policies established by national party by-laws forcing voters to selecting a voting group and by creating a forum for primary debate sponsored (not controlled by) by the state. The voter will have the access to all platforms and have better chance at selecting a candidate that is going to represent their interest. It is not illegal for the government to provide a public forum to hear all platforms of every candidate to include independents. Town halls and public parks are available. The exclusion of independents by State Law is a violation of intellectual voter rights.

This will not prevent the republicans and democrats from having their primary. It will and is intend to remove the monopoly the two parties have on the election process by misappropriating Laws.

POINT 1…The Democrat and Republican parties begin debates between candidates that circulate nomination papers six months prior to the primary election – presidential campaigns can begin up to two years prior to the election. The media promotes the primary to stir controversy about the candidate climaxing on the day of the primary.

POINT 2…An independent is not allowed to circulate nomination papers until the week before the primary? Why can’t an independent candidate begin to circulate their nomination papers and participate in the debating process in tandem with Democrat and Republican candidates? Because it’s the law!!! And that’s the problem!

POINT 3…Why is the state allowing the two major parties to claim exclusive rights over the election process to the point that after the election A) newspapers invalidate independent candidates by holding back the announcement of their campaign until the middle of September leaving individual candidates with less than 40 days to reach the public. When an incumbent during the course of duty gains headlines and speaks to groups and doesn’t need to debate. They already have the public’s eye from the debates leading to the primary adding to the advantage of having public campaign funds appropriated to the two party organizations by congress and having all the facility of a major party to include party volunteers standing at every polling station.

The state is participating in the manipulation of laws by requiring independents to follow rules that are without doubt to invalidate or obstruct an independent candidate is not a charge but a fact.

POINT 4…access to universities and colleges to reach students and register voters is reserved to liberal groups. Universities should be open to groups of every kind as long as they are not maliciously influencing the registration of voters for any one party.

POINT 5…Regardless if third parties do not have a primary the fact exists that candidates can challenge other candidates to debate. There is no law that prevents an independent or any of the other political parties or individual from inviting an adversary to deliver their platform and ideas – except the law that prevents the Independent from circulating nomination papers alongside Republicans and Democrat candidates. This state Law invalidates the Independent to participate in any debates until after they file their nomination papers and that cannot happen until after the primaries. (AUGUST)

Again! Why is this law delaying independents for registering and collecting signatures allowed to continue when it is in contradiction to the purpose of having free, public and open elections and is to the disadvantage of the voter? It doesn’t have to be fair considering resources and public access to groups and agreed it would be virtually impossible to make an exact and level playing field for all candidates. But voter laws must be consistent and this restriction to prevent the timely circulation of nomination papers serves no other purpose than for the two parties to command exclusive right of the election process. The political party is not the government. Elections belong to people not party. No party should be able to dominate the process. That’s not just unfair to the candidate – but likely unconstitutional to the voter.

Any individual can run in the general election without collecting a single signature as a write-in candidate. It is not the nomination papers that create the right to run for public office – but not having your name on the ballot is reason enough that any candidate – Libertarian, Republican or other can have the un-balloted candidate excluded from the debate

WHY a write-in candidate CANNOT legally be denied the ability to debate though they are not listed on the ballot?

Because when a candidate registers with the ethics board he is OFFICIALLY a candidate running for office until he officially files papers ceding from the election regardless if they failed to gain the number of signatures required. The qualification for candidacy is not the balloting process; the petitioning process is to limit the listing of names to qualify having your name printed on the ballot – If this process was not in place the ballot listing of names would be monstrous complicating the election – but it is the Constitution and filing intent papers with the corresponding boards that set the requirements and validate the credentials of a candidate to run for office.

A candidate is considered an eligible and qualified candidate by meeting the standards stated in the Constitution that list the requirements to hold any specific public office. Any individual that can present a valid registration number proving that they are officially recognized as an eligible and qualified candidate; should have access to debates to present their platform – Why??? BECAUSE IT”S THE LAW!!

But groups have used the balloting process to wrongfully invalidate candidates when the Constitution and election laws validate an un-balloted candidate…The purpose of circulating nominations papers is that by having your name on the ballot is to assure people might vote for you. An un-balloted candidate or write-in candidate is at a total disadvantage…unless they can get news print about their platform or are independently wealthy to afford buying news ads. Newspapers ignore a candidate completely if they are not on the ballot – but still by law; write-in candidates are eligible and qualified candidates as long as they have registered all appropriate papers declaring and substantiating they meet the qualifications and are eligible to run for that public office.

The reform sought is;
Remove the requirement of voters to register to a specific party
Remove the restriction requiring independents to wait until after the primary before they can start circulating nomination papers.

Create a state sponsored forum in public media that allows candidates to deliver their platforms to the public. This can be done simply by appropriating the election contributions collected from tax returns. It will not interfere with either major party from selecting their own candidates in their own primary, but will allow voters a broader selection of forums to hear platforms and debates between candidates – this is the essence of free, open and public political systems. Political debates can legally be held by any organization.

The only device being applied that discriminates is the law that mandates a separate scheduling of signature collection and filing of nomination papers for independent candidates and the confusion between national party by-laws that control party primary and the laws of the state that protect voter’s rights. Retention law establishes judges as no-affiliated independents – therefore No-Affiliation Independents and other third party voters have the right to vote for independent judges in the Democrat/Republican primary or the national parties have violated independent voters constituted right to vote.

Filed Under: No Affiliation Alliance Voter News

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