Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of In Re: Nomination Petition of Gary McDermott, No. GD 81-6377.
James S. Birsic, with him Franklyn E. Conflenti, Cauley, Conflenti & Birsic, for appellant.
George C. Entenmann, Entenmann & McKinney, for appellee.
Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge MacPhail dissents.
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 487]
In this case under the Pennsylvania Election Code (Code), Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, as amended, 25 P.S. § 2601, objector Lewis F. Parrilla has presented objections to nomination petitions filed on behalf of respondent Gary McDermott, who sought to be a candidate for the Democratic party's nomination to the office of township commissioner for the Second Ward of Stowe Township, Allegheny County, in the May, 1981 primary.
The facts are not disputed. The two questioned petitions, each containing the signatures of fifteen qualified Democratic electors of the Second Ward, bear circulator's affidavits made by Mr. Harry R. Musko, who resides in the Fifth Ward of Stowe Township, not in the Second Ward.
When Mr. Musko circulated the petitions, he was accompanied by Mr. Mike Webster, a Second Ward resident who, however, was not a registered member of the Democratic party until March 24, 1981. The questioned circulator's affidavits were notarized, and the nomination petitions were filed March 10, 1981, the deadline date for filing.
Thereafter, Mr. McDermott himself circulated a substitute nomination petition to obtain fifteen signatures and filed that petition on March 19, 1981.
The objection is based upon Section 909 of the Code, 25 P.S. § 2869, which provides with respect to circulator's affidavits for nomination petitions, in pertinent part, as follows:
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 488]
Each sheet shall have appended thereto the affidavit of the circulator of each sheet, setting forth -- (a) that he or she is a qualified elector duly registered and enrolled as a member of the designated party of the State, or of the political district, as the case may be, referred to in said petition. . . (b) his residence, giving city, borough or township, with street and number, if any . . . and (g) that, to the best of affiant's knowledge and belief, the signers are qualified electors and duly registered and enrolled members of the designated party of the State, or of the political district, as the case may be. (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus the primary question here is whether the Code, in requiring that the circulator be a "qualified elector duly registered and enrolled as a member of the designated party . . . of the political district . . . referred to in said petition," mandates that the circulator be a resident within the constituency for which office is sought. More specifically, does the phrase "political district" refer to ...