LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Timothy Patrick Brennan | Feb 14, 2011

Pennsylvania Election Law (Petition Challenges)

The decision to challenge another candidate's candidacy should not be taken lightly or for reasons other than submission deficiencies or the failure to properly follow election laws. Nonetheless, it is advisable to carefully review petitions for such defects and discrepancies. In evaluating the adequacy of a candidate submission, you should review the following: (i) Each petition submitted; (ii) Each candidate and circulator affidavit; (iii) Statement of Financial Interest (properly submitted); and (iv) Any relevant registration cards at your local election office. As to individual signatures, numerous issues may arise, but the following are most common: (i) Signatures that are fraudulent; (ii) Signatures or information that is altered; (iii) Signatures from the wrong party or district; (iv) Signatures from people that are not domiciled at the stated location; (v) Signatures before first day to circulate or after last day to circulate; (vi) Signatures or other information that is not legible; (vii) Signatures that appear after notarization; (viii) Signatures of individuals who are not eligible to vote; (ix) Signatures that deviate from voter registration cards; (x) Use of nicknames, initials or a changed name; (xi) Failure to include an address, a printed name, a signed name or the date; (xii) Failure to provide a signature on the petition or registration card; (xiii) Previous signatures in the same election contest; and (xiv) The use of ditto marks or the like that may need to be reformed. You should carefully review circulator affidavits to determine if the person actually circulated the petitions, is from the proper party and/or district and is not otherwise disqualified. Also as to candidates, you determine whether they willfully stated any incorrect information, including a residence. Finally, you should also view the notary attestations for possible discrepancies.

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