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BERG v. KANE

April 3, 1998

PHILIP BERG. Plaintiff,
v.
YVETTE KANE, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KATZ

 AND NOW, this 3rd day of April, 1998, upon consideration of plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, and the response thereto, and after a hearing, it is hereby ORDERED that the said motion is DENIED.

 Findings of Fact

 1. Pennsylvania requires the plaintiff, who seeks the Democratic nomination for Governor in the May 19, 1998 primary election, to present a nominating petition that includes at least 100 members from that party from at least ten of Pennsylvania's sixty-seven counties. See 25 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2872.1(3).

 2. Philip Berg, a Montgomery county lawyer, wishes to be included on the ballot for the Democratic primary for governor of Pennsylvania.

 3. Toward that end, Berg collected over 3,000 signatures across Pennsylvania.

 4. Berg was able to obtain the required signatures in nine counties: Allegheny, Cambria, Delaware, Lancaster, Luzerne, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Washington. He believed he had obtained the appropriate 100 signatures in Dauphin county. He also obtained more than ninety signatures in Chester and York counties.

 5. A successful challenge to about fifty signatures obtained in Dauphin county means that plaintiff has not met the requirements set forth in 25 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 2872.1(3). Plaintiff concedes that he was five signatures short of the one hundred signatures required. Plaintiff has challenged the constitutionality of the one hundred signature-ten county requirement in the Commonwealth Court case where the successful challenge was mounted, and that case is pending.

 6. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are sixty-seven counties of widely varying populations with the vast majority of the population in Pennsylvania being located in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Bucks County, and Allegheny County. In fact, the registered Democratic voters in the five county area around Philadelphia is a significant percentage of the registered Democratic voters statewide.

 7. Philip Berg has been campaigning for a number of months and has spent substantial time and money on his campaign to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania.

 8. Plaintiff claims that he will suffer irreparable harm in that the statute in question will impair his candidacy to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the May 19, 1998 and violates his rights under the First, Fifth, and fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, or, in other words, his rights of association, franchise, equal protection, and due process. The ballot must be printed shortly, so the issue is exigent.

 9. Plaintiff claims that the distribution requirements of one hundred signatures in ten counties has no relationship to the population in Pennsylvania's counties and, in fact, dilutes the voting strength of persons in counties with large populations in Pennsylvania and violates the one person/one vote principle.

 Conclusions of Law

 1. This court has jurisdiction over this matter. 28 ...


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