Appeal, No. 25, May T., 1952, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Commonwealth Docket, 1952, No. 27, in re Petition to strike off Nomination Petition of Daniel Beynon as a candidate for the office of representative in congress, etc. Order affirmed.
Milton J. Kolansky, with him Leo G. Knoll, for appellant.
George H. Shaffer, Jr., for appellee.
Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County setting aside the nomination petition of Daniel Beynon as the Republican candidate for the office of Representative in Congress from the Tenth Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
Daniel Beynon filed his nomination petition on February 18, 1952 which was the last day for filing such petitions. It contained 236 signatures. Two hundred signatures are required by law. On February 25, 1952, the last day for objecting to nomination petitions, Nelson Nichols, a candidate for the same office, filed a petition to strike off the nomination petition of Beynon and it was served on the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The court fixed February 27, 1952 as the date for a hearing. Nichols' petition alleged that 30 of the names on the Beynon petition also appeared on the petition of Joseph L. Carrigg, a third candidate for the office, that 4 names were signed twice on the Beynon petition, that 51 names were not in the handwriting of the persons who purported to sign Beynon's petition and that one signer of the Beynon petition was dead prior to the first date for signing such petitions. At the hearing Nichols introduced into evidence the Beynon petition, and then, over the objection of counsel for Beynon, the Carrigg petition, for the purpose of showing that certain persons signed the Carrigg petition and then later signed the Beynon petition. Nichols also offered Exhibit 3 which was described by the court below as a "... recapitulation and tabulation of the names of forty-six (46) persons allegedly appearing on both the Beynon and Carrigg petitions and including the date each person signed." Nichols, to prove his case, also offered affidavits by certain persons that they had not signed the Beynon petition, although their names appeared thereon.
On February 29, 1952, Nichols filed a motion to reopen the hearing and present additional testimony and amend his pleadings. This was granted, exceptions were filed to the court's order and the next hearing was held on March 5, 1952 after an amended petition was filed. No service of the amended petition or the order allowing it and reopening the proceeding was made upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth. At the second hearing Nichols proved by the Clerk of the Registration Commission and the clerk in charge of the official registration that there was only one registered Republican voter for the signatures which were objected to by him.
The lower court summarized its findings as follows: "From an inspection of the Beynon and Carrigg nomination petitions and from the testimony of the official registrars, the Court finds that (1) thirty-six (36) persons signed the Beynon petition at a date subsequent to the date of signing the Carrigg petition and that under the law these signatures are therefore invalid; (2) that seven (7) persons signed the Beynon petition on the same day they signed the Carrigg Petition and therefore, these names must be stricken from the Beynon petition; (3) that seven (7) persons signed the Beynon petition twice and that the second signature of each of these seven (7) persons is invalid. Under the view we have taken, the Beynon petition contains fifty (50) invalid signatures. The nomination petition of a candidate for the office of Representative in Congress must contain the signatures of at least two hundred (200) registered and enrolled members of the proper party, as heretofore stated. Since we hold that fifty (50) signatures on the Respondent's petition are invalid, it follows that Respondent's petition containing two hundred ...