Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On The Right Track

Pa. Supreme Court Nixes Residency Requirement for Petition Circulators
Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

"Petition circulators do not need to live in the district where they are circulating, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled today, so long as they are Pa. residents. The Court’s decision was unanimous.
“The district residency requirement discerned in Section 2911(d) is unenforceable by the Secretary and the courts of this Commonwealth,” wrote Chief Justice Ron Castille in the majority opinion (PDF).
Castile explained that it was necessary to rule because an earlier Commonwealth Court ruling and a federal ruling on the matter were contradictory, and could interfere with a future election.
“The  issue  has  the  potential  to  arise  in  the  crucible  of  an  election  contest, thereby leaving little time for considered deliberation,” he wrote.
The ruling ends speculation as to what might have happened had the ballot challenge against Rep. Jason Altmire’s petitions continued. Check out the legal analysis of that case here.
As we concluded then, Altmire was never in danger of being knocked off the ballot; the Pa. Supreme Court has been looking for an opportunity to strike the residency requirement for years.
Pa. was one of just two states to impose the requirement (the other is California).
The ruling came as a result of an appeal by Carl Stevenson, an independent who ran for state House in the 134th district in 2010. His petitions were challenged on the grounds that many were collected by an independent candidate for Congress, who resided outside the district.
Ultimately, he was knocked off the ballot on a line-by-line challenge not related to the residency requirement. But he asked the Court to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the requirement to avoid such confusion in the future.
He cited the 2002 case of Morrill v. Weaver, when a federal court ruled that Pa’s residency requirement for circulators is unconstitutional. Morrill was also an independent candidate.
Stevenson’s Commonwealth Court judge had rejected the Morrill argument on the simple grounds that the Commonwealth Court is not bound by rulings of lower federal courts."


  1. Does that mean my 47 cousins from places other than NorCo can come and help get signatures for the recall?

  2. Word on the street is, what are bo and Angle going to do with the next recall? I Know they did not get help from anyone.

  3. Wow !!!that means Bernie and Angle lost even more signatures that they tried to have trown out. oh well, that group didn't need them anyway. They still got the referendum on the ballot. This just helps for the next time they might want to circulate a petition. WTG

  4. Winston think of all the help, you have to live in Pa. is the only thing you have to do.

  5. Let the recall begin!

  6. Sorry gang, you're all on the wrong track. The new decision affects only "3rd party" (officially, minor party and political body) candidates, and no one else. It changes NOTHING regarding ballot questions and major party (D,R) candidates.

    By the way, recall is unconstitutional in Pennsylvania, REGARDLESS of what any home rule charter my say.

  7. VKurtB

    You might be correct,stating it to be unconstitutional.
    Case in point....
    If it were allowed Corbett would be lobbying for the drilling companies by now.

    Oh, wait, he already is.....