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CLARE M. FRAENZL AND SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY v. SECRETARY COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA AND PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU LEGISLATION (06/08/84)

decided: June 8, 1984.

CLARE M. FRAENZL AND THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY, PETITIONERS
v.
THE SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND THE PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU OF LEGISLATION, COMMISSIONS AND ELECTIONS, RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in case of Clare M. Fraenzl and The Socialist Workers Party v. The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Legislation, Commissions and Elections.

COUNSEL

Lucinda A. Bush, Hart and Bush, for petitioner.

David Phifer, Chief Counsel, with him, LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondents.

Nancy S. Pryor, for intervenor/respondent.

Judge Doyle. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 540]

Petitioners, Clare M. Fraenzl and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), seek a peremptory judgment in mandamus compelling the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Legislation, Commissions and Elections to accept the nomination papers of Clare Fraenzl, and place her name on the November, 1984 general election ballot as the

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 541]

SWP candidate for the office of United States Representative for the twenty-second Congressional District.

Initially, we address the application for leave to intervene of Nancy S. Pryor, the Republican Party candidate for U.S. Representative for the twenty-second district. We are guided by Pa. R.C.P. No. 2327 in this matter and find that Ms. Pryor does not fall within its purview. She will not be bound by any judgment in this action and, while our decision will no doubt have an effect on the outcome of the election, Ms. Pryor can assert no legally enforceable interest in potential votes which may be lost to an additional candidate. She can assert only an interest in having the election laws properly applied, an interest she shares in common with every other member of the electorate. In addition, we note that Ms. Pryor has available statutory procedures by which to challenge the nomination papers of Clare Fraenzl.*fn1 We therefore deny her application to intervene.*fn2

The relevant facts are not in dispute.*fn3 The twenty-second Congressional District includes the Counties of Washington, Greene, and Fayette, and parts of Beaver and Allegheny Counties. In the November, 1983 general election, the SWP candidate for County Commissioner in Washington County secured a sufficient number of votes to qualify the SWP as a political "party" in Washington County under Section 801(b) of the Election Code (Code), 25 P.S. § 2831(b).*fn4

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 542]

During the period from January 10, 1984 through January 31, 1984, in which nomination petitions were to be circulated to place candidates for the respective political "parties" on the April, 1984 primary ballot, no petitions were circulated for SWP candidates. Nomination of candidates for the primary ballot by a political "party" requires nomination petitions signed by 200 registered party electors, Section 912 of the Code, 25 P.S. § 2872(c), and there were only three registered SWP voters in the entire twenty-second Congressional District. After the April, 1984 primary, Petitioner Fraenzl submitted nomination papers containing 4,086 signatures, sufficient under Section 951 of the Code, 25 P.S. § 2911, to place her name ...


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