Partial Victory in Pennsylvania Libertarian Party Challenge Lawsuit

On September 13, a 3-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued an opinion in In re Nomination Paper of Robertson, 507 MD 2012, the case over whether the statewide Libertarian petition has enough valid signatures. By a vote of 2-1, the Court ruled that signatures are not invalid just because the signer had moved and showed the new address on the petition, whereas the signer is still registered at the old address. However, that is only true for signers who moved within the county, not to another county. Here is the court order. Scroll down to the bottom to get the substance.

The Libertarian Party lost on the issue of whether a signature is invalid if the signer put the month and day, but not the year, in the date column. However, such signatures can be redeemed if the signer signs a new affidavit saying he or she signed in 2012, but such affidavit is due September 21. Obviously it would be extremely difficult for the party to locate these signers and obtain such an affidavit, especially in just eight days. The vote on that was also 2-1; the dissenting judge felt the signatures are valid. The form says at the bottom “Revised January 2012.”

It seems somewhat plausible that the first part of the decision, concerning the validity of signatures when the signer moved within the county, will provide enough valid signatures that the petition will be verified. However, it is very likely that the Commonwealth Court decision will be appealed to the State Supreme Court. Thanks to Richard Schwarz for the link.

7 comments

  1. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    This is really difficult to follow. Does this mean the LP petition will have enough valid signatures?

  2. Richard Winger · · Reply

    There are still 10,000 signatures that haven’t been fought over yet. It seems likely that, given the court’s ruling restoring thousands of the signatures that were in question, plus the work to be done in the next week fighting over still more signatures, there will be enough valid. But everything is uncertain because today’s court ruling will be appealed to the State Supreme Court.

  3. One would think such obvious questions, especially concerning a change in address, would already be codified in election law. I mean, it’s 2012. I guess so many state legislators just don’t care enough about ballot access to pay attention.

  4. Walter Ziobro · · Reply

    @DSZ:

    State legislators don’t care if it doesn’t affect them personally.

  5. Questions about the date are just stupid. The form didn’t exist before 2012 so obviously anybody who signed did so in 2012.

  6. I hate my state.

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