Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Folmer is a real reformer.
Outspent nearly 20 to one in his 2006 primary campaign, “Citizen Mike,” as he is known throughout his district, was elected as a result of the revolt Pennsylvania voters had when they learned that their legislators voted for a massive pay raise for themselves.
As Senator Folmer said in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in 2006: “I was a reluctant candidate … [but] one factor that appealed greatly to me was the vision the Founders had of a citizen-legislature — of a body consisting of ordinary folks who would fulfill their civic duty for a period of time and then step aside to allow others to do theirs. We’ve gotten away from that; but public service is not something reserved only for the rich or popular or well-connected.”
The Senator recently introduced a bill that would remove Pennsylvania’s unfair hurdles that obstruct ballot access for independent and minor party candidates for public office.
Currently, Pennsylvania law uses a complex formula to produce an extraordinarily high number of petition signatures that non-major party candidates must obtain in order to appear on the ballot in a general election. In 2006, that formula resulted in minor party and independent candidates having to gather nearly 68,000 petition signatures to run in the General Election for Governor or U.S. Senator. Major party candidates, meanwhile, were required to gather only 2,000 signatures during the primary election to run for those same offices.
Other RLC legislators who have sponsored ballot access reform bills in their own states include (former State Rep.) Tom Brinkman of Ohio, (former State Sen.) Duncan Scott of New Mexico, Charles Key of Oklahoma, Randy Brogdon of Oklahoma, and (former State Rep.) Leon Drolet of Michigan.
Similar to the biased Commission on Presidential Debates, U.S. ballot access laws restrict competition and are thus unfair to voters.
Libertarian-leaning Republican legislators are the primary force behind reforming restrictive and unfair ballot access laws across the country.