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Altmire Opinion

Altmire Opinion

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Published by PoliticsPA
Judge Dan Pellegrini's ruling that Jason Altmire will remain on the Pa-12 ballot.
Judge Dan Pellegrini's ruling that Jason Altmire will remain on the Pa-12 ballot.

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Published by: PoliticsPA on Mar 05, 2012
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03/06/2012

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MEMORANDUMOPINIONBYPRESIDENTJUDGEPELLEGRINIFILED:March5,2012INTHECOMMONWEALTHCOURTOFPENNSYLVANIAInRe:NominationPetitionofJasonAltmireAsACandidateForTheDemocraticNomination-ForRepresentativeInTheUnitedStatesCongressForTheTwelfthCongressionalDistrictofPennsylvaniaPetitionOf:RichardD.Akers,JimBeckwith,DebraK.DeBiaseandCarolA.CrookstonNo.114
M.D.
2012:Heard:Match2,2012BEFORE:HONORABLEDANPELLEGRINI,PresidentJudgeOPINIONNOTREPORTED.BeforethisCourtisapetitiontosetasidethenominationpetitionofJasonAltmire(Altmire),acandidatefortheDemocraticnominationforrepresentativeintheUnitedStatesCongressforthe
1ih
CongressionalDistrictofPennsylvania,byRichardD.Akers,JimBeckwith,DebraK.DeBiaseandCarolA.Crookston(Petitioners),
I
registeredDemocratswhoresideandvoteinthedistrict.ThepetitiontosetasideallegesthatAltmireisineligibletobeacandidatebecausehisnominationpetitionfailstocontaintherequisitenumberofsignaturesin
I
Crookstonhasfiledamotiontowithdrawherobjectiontothenominationpetitionwhichhasbeengranted.
 
J,
accordancewithSection912.l(l2}ofthePennsylvaniaElectionCode(ElectionCode)."
I.
OnFebruary13,2012,AltmirefiledanominationpetitionwiththeSecretary
of
the.CommonwealthfortheApril24,2012primaryballot_which,pursuanttoSection912.1(12)oftheElectionCode,requiresacandidateforRepresentativeinCongresstopresentanominationpetitioncontainingatleast
,
'
1,000signatures.AtthehearingonthismatterbeforeourCourtonMarch2,2012,bothpartiesstipulatedthatwhetherthereweresufficientsignaturesforAltmiretoremainontheballotwastobedecidedononeissue:whetherunderSection909oftheElectionCode,25P.S.§2869,circulatorAbigailSilverman(Silverman)residedattheaddresssetforthonthecirculator'sAffidavitsshesigned-220TimberRidgeRoad,O'HaraTownship,15238,inthe1ihDistrict,oratanaddressonElmerStreetinShadysideintheCityofPittsburghinthe14thDistrictwheresheleased(andcurrentlyleases)anapartmentduringthetimeshewascirculatorofthenominationpetitionsatissuehere-February4,2012,throughFebruary14,2012.
If
wedeterminethatSilvermanresidedattheaddressinO'HaraTownshipduringthetimeshecollectedthesignaturesforwhichshewasthecirculator,thenAltmirewillhavesufficientsignaturestoremainontheballotfortheprimary,andPetitioners'petitiontosetasideAltmire'snominationpetition
2
ActofJune3,1937,P.L.1333,
addedby
ActofDecember121984,P.L.968,
asamended,
25P.S.§2872.1(12).
2
 
3
willbegranted.Ifshedidnot,thenAltmirewillnothavesufficientsignaturestoremainontheballot,andthePetitioners'petitiontosetasideAltmire'snominationpetitionwillbedenied.Attheoutset,Inotethatindecidingthevalidityofchallengesto.anominationpetition,theElectionCodemustalsobeliberallyconstruedinordertoprotecta
candidate's
righttorunforoffice
and
the.voters'rightstoelectthecandidateoftheirchoice.
InreNominationPetition
0/
Wesley,
536Pa.609,640A.2d1247(1994).Theburdenofprovinglackofresidencyisontheobjectorwhocarriesaheavyburdenbecausetheobjectormustprovethattheindividualisnotaresidentofthedisputedaddress.
InreNominationPetitionofStreet,
516A.2d791(Pa.Cmwlth.1986);
InreNominationPetition
0/
Johnson,
509Pa.347,502A.2d142(1985).Theindividualdoesnothavetoprovethatheorsheisnotaresidentattheaddressinquestion.
InreStreet.
II.
Regardingthequalificationsofacirculatorofanominationpetition,Section909oftheElectionCode,25P.S.§2869,provides,inrelevantpart:Eachsheetshallhaveappendedthereto
the
affidavitofthecirculatorofeachsheet,settingforth-(a)thatheorsheisa
'qualifiedelectordulyregistered
andenrolledasamemberofthedesignatedpartyoftheState,orofthepoliticaldistrict,asthecasemaybe,referredtoin.saidpetition...(b)
hisresidence,
givingcity,boroughortownship,withstreetandhumber,ifany;(c)thatthesignerstheretosignedwithfullknowledgeofthecontentsofthepetition;(d).thattheirrespectiveresidencesarecorrectlystatedtherein;(e)thattheyallresideinthecountynamedintheaffidavit;(f)thateach

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