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U.S. District Court Grants Injunctive Relief Against Pennsylvania’s Ban on Out-of-State Circulators

On July 31, U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell granted injunctive relief against Pennsylvania’s ban on out-of-state circulators. Green Party of Pennsylvania v Aichele, eastern district, 2:14cv-3299. The judge ruled from the bench after a hearing that lasted somewhat less than two hours.

The judge declined at this time to enjoin the regulations that say only registered voters may sign petitions, even though the literal language of the law says that persons eligible to register to vote are also permitted to sign such petitions. The issue may arise again in this same case in a few weeks. The judge also declined to grant injunctive relief against the regulation that does not permit residents of different counties to sign the same petition sheet. Nor did he enjoin the law requiring all sheets to be notarized.

There was no need for him to rule on the regulation requiring that signers include the year in the “date” column on the petition, because the state’s witness, Jonathan Marks, Commissioner of Elections, testified that it will not be enforced.

The only states that still enforce a ban on out-of-state circulators for all kinds of petition are Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. States that ban some types of petition from being circulated by out-of-state circulators are Maine, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Thanks to Bill Redpath for this news.

One Response

  1. Andy

    Does the lifting of the ban on out-of-state petition circulators in Pennsylvania also apply to major party candidate primary petitions, or does it only apply to minor party and independent candidate petitions?

    “The judge declined at this time to enjoin the regulations that say only registered voters may sign petitions, even though the literal language of the law says that persons eligible to register to vote are also permitted to sign such petitions.”

    I think that the law in Pennsylvania actually says qualified electors, which could be interpreted to mean people who are eligible to vote, but who are not necessarily registered to vote, or people who are registered to vote. The law has been interpreted to mean people who are registered to vote.

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