Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Maritza Torres, No. 5166 March Term, 1986; Angel R. Rivera, No. 5168 March Term, 1986; Samuel Garcia, No. 5769 March Term, 1986, and Nereida Colon, No. 5184 March Term, 1986.
Robert J. Mulligan, Robert J. Mulligan, Inc., P.C., for appellants.
Mark Jurikson, for appellees, Arthur Noe and Roberto Arle.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Senior Judges Barbieri and Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Kalish.
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 174]
Maritza Torres (appellant) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which set aside her nomination petition. We reverse.*fn1
On March 11, 1986, the appellant filed a nomination petition to have her name placed on the ballot as Democratic Candidate for the Office of Member of the Ward
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 175]
Executive Committee for the 19th Ward, 1st Division of the City and County of Philadelphia. Under section 977 of the Pennsylvania Election Code (Election Code), Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, as amended, 25 P.S. § 2937, objections to nomination petitions must be filed within seven days after the last day for filing nomination petitions. By oral order, Administrative Judge Charles Mirarchi extended the deadline for filing objections for an additional seven days, until March 25, 1986. On that date, the appellee, Judith Alvarez, filed a petition to set aside the appellant's nomination petition. Following a hearing, the trial court ordered that the appellant's nomination petition be stricken because only six signatures were valid.
The appellant contends that the statutory deadline for filing objections to nomination petitions set forth in section 977 of the Election Code, 25 P.S. § 2937, is mandatory, and that Administrative Judge Mirarchi was without authority to extend the deadline for filing objections. The appellant further contends that the trial judge did not apply the correct standard in evaluating the handwriting of the signers of the nomination petition.
The pertinent portion of section 977 of the Election Code, 25 P.S. § 2937 provides:
All nomination petitions and papers received and filed within the periods limited by this act shall be deemed to be valid, unless, within seven days after the last day for filing said nomination petition or paper, a petition is presented to the court specifically setting forth the objections thereto, and praying that the said petition or paper be set aside.
The appellee cites Moore Nomination Petition, 447 Pa. 526, 291 A.2d 531 (1972), for the proposition that the time deadline ...