July 2nd, 2008
Representative Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) is circulating his ballot access bill among all members of the State House, asking for co-sponsors. It would abolish mandatory petitions for all candidates, and provide a choice of paying a filing fee. No fee would be higher than $2,000. The bill applies equally to candidates seeking a place on a primary ballot, and candidates seeking a place on the general election ballot. UPDATE: thanks to Ken Krawchuk for pointing out that I mis-read the bill. The bill provides higher filing fees for independent and minor party candidates than for Democrats and Republicans. That provision of the bill would be unconstitutional, under the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Davis v FEC. The Court said that states cannot have different contribution limits for different candidates for the same office. It follows logically that states can’t have different filing fee amounts for different candidates for the same office either.
The bill already has several co-sponsors. After that process of seeking co-sponsors is complete, probably by July 18, the bill will receive a bill number.