The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUIR
A hearing was held on the day requested by Plaintiff, Thursday, November 2, 1972. Because of the severe time factor, counsel stipulated that the matter could be disposed of by a brief order issued before the election, to be followed after the election by an opinion. Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief was denied on November 3, 1972. This Opinion sets forth the reasons for this denial.
The facts of the case may be briefly stated. From May through July, 1972, the Office of Voter Registration in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania surveyed all voter registration cards. Persons whose cards indicated that they had not voted during the two immediately preceding years were sent a notice which advised them that unless they returned a signed copy of the notice within 10 days, or otherwise requested reinstatement, their registrations would be cancelled.
The named Plaintiff and approximately 5,000 other registered voters of Lackawanna County who, according to the Defendants, had not voted within two years were removed from the voter rolls upon failure to request reinstatement. However, the 10-day reinstatement period was not strictly adhered to, and the Office of Voter Registration reinstated purged voters even after the official period for voter registration had closed on October 10, 1972.
The purported statutory authority for the purge conducted by Defendants is the Act of 1937, P.L. 487, § 38, as amended; 25 P.S. § 951-38.
Plaintiff does not attack the constitutionality of this statute. Rather he urges several grounds for holding the purge as conducted by Defendants in 1972 violative of his federal constitutional rights.
(1) the purge was not conducted during the time period specified by statute;
(2) approximately 2% of those purged had voted by absentee ballot within the previous two years;
(4) approximately 3% of those purged had voted in the May, 1970 primary;
(5) approximately 20% of those purged never received the letters notifying them of the purge because their notices were returned by the Post Office pursuant to directions on the envelopes that they not be forwarded; and
(6) Democrats were allegedly purged at a significantly higher rate than were Republicans.
Not all of these matters were properly before the Court.
Each of the six grounds just listed represents a distinct cause of action. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23,
a class action may not be maintained unless the named plaintiff or plaintiffs properly represents the class or classes. Only if a named plaintiff has a personal interest in the outcome of the claims can proper representation be assured; only then can he have standing to assert the claim.
A plaintiff cannot bring a suit on behalf of a class based upon a cause of action in which he has no rights.
The sole named plaintiff in this case was not a member of the classes which would be affected by a decision on the ...