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COMMONWEALTH v. GREAR (11/14/50)

November 14, 1950

COMMONWEALTH
v.
GREAR



COUNSEL

M. Phillip Freed, I. Finkelstein, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Americo V. Cortese, Assistant District Attorney, John H. Maurer, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold, and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Dithrich

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 33]

DITHRICH, Judge.

Appellant served as minority inspector in the 27th division of the 20th ward of Philadelphia at the primary election held April 27, 1948. She and Wilbur Jackson, the majority inspector, were convicted of unlawfully, willfully and fraudulently making a false return of the votes cast at said election; of unlawfully signing, as inspectors, the certificate of the votes cast, knowing it to be false; and unlawfully inserting and permitting to be inserted the names of persons on the voters' certificates as having voted in said election district and as having signed the voters' certificates, whereas the said persons had not voted and had not signed the certificates. Demurrers to two other indictments, charging conspiracy to violate the provisions of the Election Code and fraudulently registering votes on the voting machines, were sustained.

After the verdict of guilty as to both defendants had been recorded, counsel for Jackson, the majority inspector, stated in open court, 'We feel we have had a fair trial and we have no motions whatever to make.' The minority inspector, however, filed a motion for a new trial and after argument before a court in banc it was refused. From the refusal of her motion she has brought this appeal.

We will not unduly lengthen this opinion by recounting in detail the evidence of violation of the Election Code and perpetration of fraud in the conduct of the election. Suffice it that we agree with the learned court below that the Commonwealth's evidence, given during a trial which lasted four days, was 'overwhelming.' For example, appellant admitted that she signed the certificate of the votes cast on the return sheet, knowing it to be false, and that she knew that the majority inspector had signed a number of the voters' certificates required by the Code to be signed by the voter. As minority inspector she was in charge of the

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 34]

    district register. Subsection (a) of § 1210, Art. XII, of the Election Code of 1937, June 3, P.L. 1333, 25 P.S. § 3050, provides in part that: 'At every primary and election each elector who desires to vote shall first sign a voter's certificate, and [with certain exceptions] * * * insert his address therein, and hand the same to the election officer in charge of the district register. Such election officer shall thereupon compare the elector's signature on his voter's certificate with his signature in the district register. If, upon such comparison, the signature upon the voter's certificate appears to be genuine, the elector who has signed the certificate shall, if otherwise qualified, be permitted to vote: * * *. As each voter is found to be qualified and votes, the election officer in charge of the district register shall write or stamp the date of the election or primary, the number of the stub of the ballot issued to him or his number in the order of admission to the voting machines, and at primaries a letter or abbreviation designating the party in whose primary he votes, and shall sign his name or initials in the proper space on the registration card of such voter contained in the district register.'

Before entering upon the performance of their duties, the two inspectors took the oath required by the Election Code, which is in part as follows: 'I * * * do swear that I will as an inspector duly attend the ensuing election (or primary) during the continuance thereof, and that I will not admit any person to vote, except such as I shall firmly believe to be registered and entitled to vote at such election (or primary), according to the provisions of the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth, * * * that I will make a true and perfect return of the said election (or primary), and that I will in all things truly, impartially and faithfully perform my duties therein, to the best of my judgment and ability; * * *.' 25 P.S. § 2678.

The evidence is clear that appellant violated the oath taken by her as minority ...


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