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NOMINATION PETITION JULIA L. SMITH AND LEROY E. CIMINO FOR DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR SECOND PRECINCT CANTON TOWNSHIP (05/09/86)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: May 9, 1986.

IN RE: NOMINATION PETITION OF JULIA L. SMITH AND LEROY E. CIMINO FOR DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR THE SECOND PRECINCT OF CANTON TOWNSHIP, WASHINGTON COUNTY. JULIA L. SMITH AND LEROY E. CIMINO, APPELLANTS

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in the case of In Re: Nomination petitions of Julia L. Smith and LeRoy E. Cimino for Democratic Precinct Executive Committee for the Second Precinct of Canton Township, Washington County, No. 1305 of 1986.

COUNSEL

Patrick C. Derrico, Greenlee, Derrico, Posa, Harrington & Rodgers, for appellants.

C. E. Kurowski, with him, Steven R. Wolf, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Senior Judges Barbieri and Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 181]

Julia L. Smith and LeRoy E. Cimino (candidates) appeal a Washington County Common Pleas Court order striking their names from the May 20, 1986 primary ballot for the office of Democratic Precinct Executive Committee in the Second Precinct of Canton Township.*fn1 We affirm.

The trial court found that the candidates' activities*fn2 at the November 1985 Municipal Election violated Rule

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 18225]

of the Washington County Democratic Committee Rules. That rule states:

No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Democratic County Committee or will receive a certificate or credentials from the chairman of the county committee who has by vote or by voice or distribution of marked sample ballots, supported in any election a Republican candidate or any other candidate other than a Democratic candidate, or who has organized or attempted to organize by signing or circulating or [sic] petitions for any other party other than the Democratic party.

(Emphasis added.)

The candidates contend that the objector lacks standing to enforce the local party rule and, in the alternative, that Rule 25 is unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.*fn3 We disagree.

The objector, C. E. Kurowski, is a registered member of the Democratic Party and a fellow candidate for the Democratic Committee. As such, we believe that he has a direct and substantial interest in the compliance of Democratic Party Committee rules by candidates

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 183]

    seeking nomination therein. See Appeal of Robert C. Barlip, 59 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 178, 428 A.2d 1058 (1981).

We also find Rule 25 to be constitutionally valid as applied to the facts found by the trial court. Appeal of Jay Kielstock, 97 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 153, 473 A.2d 713 (1984). Although Rule 25 does not contain a time limit restricting prior support of opposing-party candidates, we believe that it is to be given a reasonable interpretation. Because the acts complained of in this matter took place in the preceding municipal election, when the candidates were Democratic Committee office-holders, we find no unreasonable enforcement.

We hold that the trial court properly eliminated the names of Julia L. Smith and LeRoy E. Cimino from the May 20, 1986 primary ballot for the office of Democratic Precinct Executive Committee in Canton Township.

Affirmed.

Order

The order of the Washington County Common Pleas Court, No. 1305 of 1986 dated April 18, 1986, is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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