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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Terrence Miller Survives Ballot Challenge in Easton City Council Race (Updated)

Long-time grass roots activist Terrence Miller has survived an objection to his nomination petition for a spot on Easton City Council. He submitted a petition with 134 signatures. Judge Craig Dally, in a ruling handed down Tuesday afternoon, determined that 103 of them are valid. That's three more than the 100 he needed. He dismissed a challenge filed by prominent Bethlehem Attorney Vic Scomillio on behalf of Richard Bader, who ironically recited an incorrect address for himself in the body of his challenge. Barring an appeal to Commonwealth Court, Miller will be a candidate for Easton City Council.

Judge Dally's decision follows a March 16 hearing before Judge Dally in which Scomillio called Voting Registrar Dee Rumsey to establish that 28 signatories either lived outside the district, belong to another party or are not registered at all.

Judge Dally dismissed most signature errors as immaterial or name derivatives, noting that the Election Code's signature requirement is only there to prevent forgery and insure that each elector personally signs with knowledge what he is doing.

He did reject a "Leah Lynn Alexander" who signed as "Lynn Alexander," as well as two married women who appear to have retained their maiden names on voter registration records. (I see this all the time as an elections judge).

He rejected challenges based on the use of ditto marks or some fields left blank because Registrar Dee Rumsey testified that each person was a registered Democrat who lived at the address indicated.

In his Opinion, Judge Dally stated he was guided by this admonition from the Commonwealth Court:
[T]he Election Code must be construed liberally so as not to deprive an individual of his right to run for office, or the voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice. Furthermore, the purpose of the Election Code is to protect, not defeat, a citizen's vote."
"Let the voters decide," Miller had urged Judge Dally. "That's what this is all about." He represented himself and actually did an outstanding job. When he cross-examined Richard Bauder, he asked him whether some people call him Rich. He also asked whether some people call him Dick. I thought at first that he was being a wise guy but then he explained the same situation exists on his petition.Andrew might sign as Andy. Michael might sign as Mike.

Common wisdom dictates that a candidate should get twice as many signatures than are needed precisely to prevent this kind of challenge. But Miller is actually lucky he got any signatures at all. He is currently hobbled by knee injuries and is using a cane.

Miller's primary opponent is incumbent Jim Edinger, who sat in the courtroom during last week's hearing. A common complaint is that Easton's downtown gets all the attention while the west ward is ignored.

I think he has an issue.

(Blogger's Note: This story was originally published on 3/21/17 at 4:11 pm.)


Anonymous said...

Challenging petitions is the new establishment voter suppression tactic. It is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

And in other news, the tramp of Ridge Street remains on the ballot in West Easton despite humiliating herself during the March 2017 council meeting, as well as others.

Anonymous said...

Tramp? Do tell!