Green Links for February 13, 2018: Victory for Democracy (not Democrats) in PA! Percoco Trial Continues, Reproductive Healthcare is a Human Right

VICTORY In Pennsylvania! And not just for Greens, but for all who support real democracy Beyond the Duopoly. PA has long been home to some of the most unjust and frustrating ballot access requirements in the nation, requiring Greens and independent candidates to collect many thousands more petition signatures to run for office than their duopoly counterparts.

That has come to end, at least for non-federal statewide elections, due to the PA Green Party and allied third parties gutting this case out in the courts for six years:

"Basically, the case results changed the requirements for the total number of signatures a third party candidate in a statewide office race must gain in order to qualify for a ballot position in the general election; lowering those totals to 5,000, or 2,500 voter signatures depending on which office is sought. The original ruling was issued in July of 2016, but, despite its lowering the signature threshold, it imposed a requirement to obtain a minimum number of signatures in several counties. Thursday's Order removes the county-distribution requirement." said David Ochmanowicz Jr., Green Party of Pennsylvania Media Coordinator.

Green Party organizer and activist Carl J. Romanelli was the plaintiff in the lawsuit and has been a tireless ballot access organizer for the GP:

Romanelli was hit with more than $80,000 in legal fees after his candidacy was successfully challenged by the Democratic Party when he tried to run in 2006 against then-Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, and the eventually winner, Bob Casey, the current incumbent Democrat.

He never ended up paying because, he said, no one immediately came to collect and he started fighting back.

The maximum number of signatures Democrats or Republicans need to get on the primary election ballot is 2,000.

But, prior to the recent ruling, third-party candidates were being required to get nearly 30 times that number at times. They had to get a signature total that surpassed two percent of the highest vote getter in the previous statewide election.

So Romanelli’s threshold was 67,070 signatures. (emphasis added)

Please note that it was Democrats in Pennsylvania who tried to use draconian barriers to independent candidates in order to financially ruin a man whose only crime was having the gall to run for office outside of their cartel system.

What's Going on the PercoCuomo Trial?

"Percoco and the businessmen are the ones on trial here — but it is Cuomo whose office was a sitting duck for naked influence-peddling, transacted in part in the currency of campaign donations. Oh, and in 2014, when Percoco continued the shenanigans while managing Cuomo’s reelection campaign — a job not on the public payroll — he was in and out of his old official gubernatorial offices in Manhattan."

Under Cuomo’s watch: Blind to his best friend's alleged crimes - NY Daily News

February 12 was National Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, so in honor of that esteemed cause please take a look at the Center for Reproductive Rights' assessment of how Trump's federal budget will "threaten essential health programs for women, families, and vulnerable populations"

This budget disproportionately impacts low-income women and families by adding unnecessary requirements to critical health and social service programs which will serve to limit coverage and access. It also additionally preserves the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which restricts Medicaid and Medicare recipients from accessing safe and legal abortion care except in extremely limited circumstances through their health care providers.

Reproductive healthcare, like all healthcare, is a human right! Help pass the NY Health Act this year so we can blaze a trail for universal, single-payer healthcare for all!