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Letters to the Editor

September 23, 2010

It's difficult for new parties to emerge



To the editor:

Herald-Mail Executive Editor Jake Womer recently wrote that there is no excuse for not voting and that he wouldn't listen to the complaints of someone who didn't. I think there is one good reason not to vote that still gives me the right to complain and journalists the duty to listen if they are committed to keeping the public informed.

In Pennsylvania, third-party candidates for statewide office are forced to collect nearly 10 times more petition signatures than major-party candidates in order to appear on the ballot. Despite having filed more than the requisite number of signatures in 2010, the names of Libertarian, Green, and tea party candidates in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races have still been banned from the ballot.

In addition to creating these grossly inequitable signature requirements, Pennsylvania Republicans and Democrats also have the right to mount legal challenges to third-party petitions. Of course, there is never any need to actually evaluate the legitimacy of petitions filed by third-party candidates because none of them can afford to defend themselves and have no choice but to just drop out of the race without a fight.

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A Sept. 17 Gallup poll indicates that 58 percent of Americans believe that a third major political party is needed because Republicans and Democrats fail to effectively represent the American people. How can they represent us when they are both funded and controlled primarily by corporate and special interests? Unfortunately, while politicians tell us they're sending young Americans to kill and die for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are hard at work trying to destroy it here at home.

The entrenched, self-perpetuating, and out-of-touch two-party monopoly makes it virtually impossible for any new political party to emerge. Perhaps this accounts for much of the low voter turnout that Womer laments.

Regan Straley
Mercersburg, Pa.




Munson's refusal to debate swayed this voter



To the editor:

Despite my long-held perception of your paper, to which I subscribe, being somewhat to the left, I personally find it to be relatively fair and balanced. The recent reporting of the closet Democrat, state Sen. Donald F. Munson, who we have fed, clothed and housed for more than 20 years, was enlightening.

Obviously, he doesn't believe character is meaningful. What a sour, self-centered man. He is indicative of what's wrong with our no-term-limit type of government.

Apparently, he would do anything to remain at the trough, even change party affiliation. His refusal to even debate Del. Christopher B. Shank was what swung me over. That was the height of arrogance that's so common among our elected officials today.

Now, his sore-loser, sour-grapes, no-cooperation attitude says volumes and does not bode well for our future.

Chuck Suggs
Smithsburg

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