Original jurisdiction in the case of Scott M. Wilds, Suzanne Badoux, David Livingston, Donna Livingston, Francis E. Gleeson, Jr., and John J. Hughes v. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Mark L. Alderman, with him Andrew A. Chirls, Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for petitioners.
Gregory M. Harvey, for intervenor-respondents.
Judge Colins. Opinion by Judge Colins.
The petitioners, Scott M. Wilds, Suzanne Badoux, David Livingston, Donna Livingston, Francis E. Gleeson, Jr. and John J. Hughes, are candidates in the April 10, 1984 Pennsylvania Primary Election for the position of delegate to the Democratic National Convention.*fn1 They have filed an Application for Immediate Peremptory Mandamus with this Court to require the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the respondent, to certify their statements setting forth their intentions to now support the candidacy of Senator Gary Hart for President of the United States.
The petitioners were previously certified to the Philadelphia County Board of Elections, pursuant to Section 2876 of the Election Code,*fn2 as supporters of Senator Alan Cranston or former Governor Reubin Askew. Since Senator Cranston and former Governor Askew have withdrawn from the presidential race and have released the petitioners pledged to them from their commitments, the petitioners have filed new Delegate Statements reflecting their intentions to now support Senator Gary Hart. The respondent Secretary has informed the petitioners that he refuses to recognize the validity of these Delegate Statements and that he refuses to certify these statements to the Board of Elections of Philadelphia. Therefore, the petitioners have filed this Petition for Peremptory Mandamus.
The petitioners argue that there is no provision of the Election Code which establishes a deadline beyond which the submission of a Delegate's Statement of presidential allegiance is invalid and that they are,
therefore, entitled to have the Secretary certify their new statements to reflect their true presidential preference. This argument, however, is without merit. The Election Code specifically provides that "[n]omination petitions in the case of candidates . . . for the office of . . . delegate to National party conventions . . . shall be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth",*fn3 and that "[a]ll nomination petitions shall be filed on or before the tenth Tuesday prior to the primary"*fn4 which was January 31, 1984.
The Pennsylvania Delegate Selection Plan for the 1984 Democratic National Convention,*fn5 relying on the Election Code, states that "the first date for circulating nominating petitions is January 10, 1984." Also, it states that the Presidential Candidates, having received from the State Democratic party, the list of individuals who desire to be candidates for committed delegate, shall
notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, and each individual who has submitted a request to be designated a committed delegate or alternate delegate by the said Presidential candidate by no later than January 13, 1984, so that the respective candidates who have not been accepted by the said Presidential ...