A Pennsylvania judge ruled last week that the Libertarian Party’s candidate
for president could remain on the state election ballot.
Commonwealth Court Senior Judge James Gardner Colins ruled that Gary Johnson’s name could appear on the Nov. 6 election ballot, according to the Associated Press and the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania.
Supporters of Johnson, a former Republican New Mexico governor, contended that they had collected the required 20,601 signatures in order for Johnson to appear on the ballot in Pennsylvania.
The state Republican Party had sought to invalidate some of the signatures.
The judge, however, said attorneys for both sides eventually agreed that the Libertarians succeeded in getting at least 20,730 valid signatures, which is 129 more than what was required by law, according to the Associated Press.
The party stated that it has submitted more than 49,000 signatures on Aug. 1, which were quickly challenged by state Republicans.
The judge’s decision came after an eight-week review of the petition signatures.
The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, in a news release posted to its website on Oct. 10, praised the decision to allow Johnson to remain on the Pennsylvania ballot.
“The ruling was a stinging defeat for Republicans who waged a grueling and expensive 9-week battle to force their Libertarian Party competition off the November ballot and deprive voters of meaningful choices,” the news release states.
The LPPA’s chair, Tom Stevens, was quoted in the news release as saying, “The rotten Republicans in their 800-dollar suits used every trick in their playbook to try to short-circuit the democratic process and defeat us. With little money and an army of dedicated volunteers, we stood up to the superior resources of the Republican Party, never once considering capitulation, even though we faced the possibility of a significant assessment of costs, sanctions and attorneys fees if we lost.”
Johnson himself also praised the court’s decision.
“It is a travesty of the democratic process that Libertarians were required to endure such a drawn-out, expensive and unnecessary attack on their right to be on the ballot,” he said in a statement. “Voters in every state deserve real choices in this election, and it is clear that the Republican Party, not only in Pennsylvania, but in key states across the country, will go to any lengths to keep liberty, nonintervention and smaller government off the ballot.”
The court decision also means that the Libertarian candidates for U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Auditor General and Pennsylvania Treasurer will also remain on the state ballot.