The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court will hear arguments in Nomination Papers of Nevin Mindlin, 1392 C.D. 2013, on September 12, Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. in Harrisburg. This is the case over whether independent candidates must use a Substitution Committee. The lower court had ruled against the candidate, who is an independent running for Mayor of Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania law provides that petitions for the nominees of unqualified parties, as well as independent candidates, use the same type of petition form, and that form has a space for the group, or the independent candidate, to list members of a “substitution committee.” This is a useful idea, for minor parties. But it makes little sense for a true independent candidate. The purpose of having a “substitution committee” is to replace any of the candidates listed on the petition, if they die or withdraw. But generally, an independent candidate has no need of a substitution committee, because the independent candidate generally feels that if he or she withdraws, there is no desire or rationale to come up with a substitute. Yet so far the state takes the position that independent candidates must have a substitution committee. Mindlin submitted enough valid signatures to be on the ballot, but he was still kept off, because he didn’t fill in the part of the petition that asks for names of members of his substitution committee.