On October 12th, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWV PA) announced the withdrawal of their co-sponsorship of the 2018 Pennsylvania Senate Debate to be held on October 20, 2018 at WPVI-TV studios in Philadelphia.
The LWV PA statement read:
“LWV PA has partnered with WPVI for many years to provide candidate debates to voters in the Philadelphia viewing area. We value this partnership and we respect WPVI’s right to set their own criteria for candidate debates. However, LWV PA has always been a nonpartisan resource for voters and we value the trust that the public places in us to provide accurate, unbiased information so that they can make informed decisions on Election Day. When the terms for this debate were first negotiated between LWV PA and WPVI, the rules for ballot access were different; since then, a federal settlement has allowed third parties greater access to the ballot, and LWV PA amended our criteria for inclusion in our debates to reflect that. Therefore, we will not participate in debates that do not invite all balloted candidates.”
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) applauds the LWV PA decision. By their withdrawal, the LWV PA demonstrates their commitment to providing the Commonwealth with unbiased information that is necessary for an informed electorate to select its representatives through fair and free elections.
The GPPA has tirelessly fought the bureaucratic barriers of the Commonwealth which function as the means to silence the wide range of political views shared by its citizens. With our allies in democracy, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania and Constitution Party of Pennsylvania, the GPPA has successfully achieved a reduction in exorbitant requirements for minor political parties to gain access to the electoral ballot. We now face obstruction from media outlets and pollsters who create arbitrary requirements for inclusion in polls, reporting, or debates.
In order to ensure an informed and engaged electorate in the Commonwealth it is critical for organizations like the LWV PA to make bold statements such as their withdrawal from this debate. We appreciate the LWV PA’s steadfast commitment to democracy and encourage others to follow their lead.