Open letter from Ralph Nader to Chief Justice Ronald Castille

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Christina Tobin, Founder and Chair
Phone: 312-320-4101

Open letter from Ralph Nader to Chief Justice Ronald Castille

In 2004, the Presidential campaign of Ralph Nader submitted signatures on a petition, to obtain a line on the ballot in Pennsylvania. It is a matter of public record that state employees working for the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus illegally prepared a challenge to the Nader-Camejo nomination petitions at taxpayer expense. Many of these challenges were based on technicalities like failing to include a ZIP code along with a signer’s address, failure to put the year in the date, or using initials in the name, although the validity of the signature itself was not disputed.

What makes this case particularly egregious is that, without any precedent whatsoever anywhere in the United States, a court fined the Nader campaign $81,102.19 for legal costs. As Nader put it, this “threatens candidates with financial ruin if they defend their right to run for public office” and has a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights.

You can read the entire letter from Ralph Nader here.


The Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a nonpartisan, non-profit public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to election reform and improving ballot access laws in the United States.