Wednesday, August 02, 2006

PA Dems to Challenge Green Party Petitions

Well, that didn't take long. Claiming that the company hired to gather many of the signatures has a history of forgery and fraud when it comes to nominating petitions, Pa Dem boss T.J. Rooney said that the state party is preparing to challenge the Romanelli nominating petitions, filed yesterday.

When the petitions were filed, it was widely reported that Santorum & Co. had labored to raise the money, some sources said $100,000, used by the Green Party to collect the signatures.

The company, JSM, Inc. out of Florida, was hired by Nader to get on the ballots in 2004. They had a lot of problems in Ohio, where they needed 5,000 signatures. Despite having turned in 15,000, they came up short after all but 3500 or so were invalidated. JSM is a Republican-connected firm. Nader had to use them after the Democrats warned off their contractors. JSM used sub-contractors to get the job done nationally and they were successful in most challenges brought against them -- Ohio being a pretty egregious example of an unsuccessful effort.

The Green Party press release said that they had filed 100,000 signatures, or over 30,000 more than the 67,000 required. Others said the figure was 90,000+. Regardless, if the Greens submitted that many signatures over the minimum, the Democrats should have solid evidence that every third signature is a forgery. They have had plenty of time to spot check 1,000 signatures by now -- by contacting the voters listed and asking whether they have signed. If they've done that and they have several hundred questionable signatures, then fine, I'll support their challenge.

But, if they haven't done that. If they are playing politics with my electoral system, then they are flat out, dead wrong to waste their time, and everyone's money, trying to save Casey from having to face someone who talks more like a Democrat than a Republican.

I don't think there is any chance for Romanelli to affect the outcome of this election. But he could have a salutary effect by forcing Casey to move a little left (which would take him towards the center) as he tries to shore up the Democratic base in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. If that happens, that would be a bonus, as far as I am concerned.

But, if he does affect the outcome, it will not be Santorum's fault nor Romanelli's -- the fault lies in the Democratic leadership. Those among them who pushed Casey -- at Rendell's suggestion to Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid -- they are the ones that the Democrats would have to thank for blowing yet another US Senatorial election.

Rooney's statement makes it sound as though the Democrats are challenging the petitions based on fear and speculation. If that's the case, it is shameful.


eRobin said...


I tagged you. Please forgive me.

A Big Fat Slob said...

My difficulty wqill be narrowing it down to five.

fester said...

Slob: I worked on the Democratic challenge to the Nader petitions in 2004 (see post here and here for details).

When I was going through the petitions, the validity and quality of signatures were crap.

I ended up issuing about 1.5 challenges per signature, and eyeballing it, I probably would have had a 50-60% knock-out rate by the judge even before we got to the registered voter screen as I did not have that information in front of me at that time.

I think that given the history of the Green Party in its signature gathering process, Dems assuming only a 33% knock-out rate are most likely massively overestimating Green competence.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Astounding. You know, it si not brain surgery. I've organized a lot of petition drives in my time and it takes about 40 minutes to adequately train a classroom full of reasonably sentient beings.

If there is fraud involved -- meaning people were misled about what they were signing, or the paid gatherers just flat out faked the signatures, then I don't have a problem with the challenge.

But if the Casey side is going to play politics, using the litigation to force the Greens to spend money that they don't have in order to knock them off the ballot (what Santorum did with Feahterman) then that's inappropriate IMHO.

eRobin said...

It depends where you are in the state. In my area, it's very easy to get a sig tossed because people don't know where they live. Yardley is only good for "Yardley Boro" for instance. You must put Lower Makefield even if you give your mailing address as Morrisville and Yardley and NEVER as Lower Make. Same thing for Newtown and Newtown Township - and then there's Uppoer Makefield Township ... It's crazy.

eRobin said...

How do I trackback this post to you?

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