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POTTSVILLE REFERENDUM CASE (01/03/50)

January 3, 1950

POTTSVILLE REFERENDUM CASE, FEY APPEAL


Appeal, No. 78, Jan. T., 1950, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Nov. T., 1949, No. 259, in re Sunday Movie Petition for the City of Pottsville. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Bernard G. Segal, with him Ralph M. Bashore, Wm. A. Schnader, Joseph S. Lilienthal, Bashore & Bashore and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for appellant.

James J. Gallagher, for appellee.

Before Maxey, C.j., Drew, Linn, Stern, Patterson, Stearne and Jones, JJ.

Author: Maxey

[ 363 Pa. Page 461]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MAXEY

This is an appeal from an order made on October 31, 1949, by the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, setting aside a petition to place upon the ballot for decision at the election of November 8, 1949, the question whether motion pictures may be exhibited on Sundays in the City of Pottsville. Upon an appeal being taken to this Court we granted a supersedeas.

At the election held on November 8, 1949, the Pottsville electors voted 5,732 to 3,418 in favor of Sunday moving pictures.

The referendum petition was filed under the provisions of the Act of July 2, 1935, P.L. 599, as amended,

[ 363 Pa. Page 4624]

PS ยง 59, et seq. The Act provides such a petition must contain signatures of qualified electors equal to twenty per cent of the highest vote cast for any candidate at the last preceding general election. The highest vote cast for such candidate in the election of 1948 in Pottsville was 7,671. Therefore, it was necessary that the petition be signed by 1,535 qualified electors.

A petition containing 2,515 names was filed with the City Clerk of Pottsville on September 6, 1949. On the same day, at a special meeting of City Council, the petition was received, and on September 7, 1949, it was certified to the Board of County Commissioners of Schuylkill County, which constitutes the County Board of Elections.

On September 9, 1949, the County Board of Elections directed the Chief of the Election Bureau to place the question of Sunday movies on the ballots which were to be used in Pottsville at the municipal election on November 8, 1949.

On October 10, 1949, the President of the Pottsville Ministerial Association filed a petition to set aside the referendum petition, on the ground that, because of illegal signatures, forgeries, alterations and erasures, and lack of addresses or occupations, it did not contain the minimum number of signatures required by law.

The reason given for the delay in filing the objections was that on October 6, 1949, the objector first learned that the referendum petition was no compared with the ...


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