Original jurisdiction in case of In Re: Nomination Petition of Charles P. McLaughlin as Democratic Candidate for the Office of Representative in the General Assembly, 159th Legislative District.
Joseph K. Pierce, for petitioner.
R. Stuart Jenkins, for respondent.
President Judge Bowman. Memorandum Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
In this proceedings under Section 977 of the Pennsylvania Election Code, Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, as amended, 25 P.S. § 2937, Francis Z. Tenanglio, an individual qualified to do so, has filed objections to the nomination petition of Charles P. McLaughlin as a candidate for Representative, 159th Legislative District, General Assembly, in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary.
McLaughlin's nomination petition consisting of two sheets, contains 178 signatures of persons purportedly qualified to sign the petition. The objecting petition
puts in issue 91 of these signatures as (a) not registered voters, (b) being signatures not comporting exactly with the names of registered voters and being dissimilar in script, (c) being signatures dissimilar in script to the signature of registered voters as appearing on the registration card, and (d) one duplicate signature on the nomination petition.
At hearing, the Chief Clerk of the Delaware County Registration Commission, enjoying that position for eleven years, testified that 19 signatories to the nomination petition were not registered voters from an examination of the registration records.*fn1 These names, of course, must be stricken. Also, the duplicate name must be stricken.
From this same witness, extensive testimony was received as to categories (b) and (c) and from the respondent-candidate himself who testified as to some of the disputed signatures that he personally knew the signatories to be one and the same person as the person's name is disclosed on the registry card and residing at the same address. His testimony as to some of these disputed signatures also countered petitioner's witness as to the dissimilarity of signatures in these categories.
While we have sanctioned and given weight to the testimony of experienced registration commission employees as to the similarity or want thereof between signatures on nomination petitions and those appearing in voter registration records, such evidence alone should be cautiously applied to determine the sufficiency of number of signatures on nomination petitions, particularly, as is shown by the evidence ...