Last week, we reported that a challenge to John Kasich’s ballot petitions was filed in Pennsylvania. A college student filed a challenge alleging that enough of his signatures were invalid to prevent Kasich from meeting the minimum threshold of 2000.
Yesterday was the court hearing for the challenge.
John Kasich’s lawyer agreed with the plaintiff that he did not file enough signatures to make the ballot. But he may get away with it, depending on how the court interprets what exact time of day was the deadline to file a challenge. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
HARRISBURG — Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s own lawyer agrees the presidential campaign submitted fewer valid signatures than are required for the candidate to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot. But he argued in court Wednesday that it doesn’t matter because an objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petitions was filed 13 minutes too late.
At issue is whether challenges to Pennsylvania nominating petitions are due by 5 p.m. or 11:59 p.m. on the last day to file.
Attorneys for Mr. Kasich and the objector have stipulated that the campaign filed no more than 2,184 signatures with the state, and that 192 of those signatures were not valid. Republican and Democratic candidates for president must submit 2,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.
Kasich’s campaign has stipulated it does not have enough valid signatures from registered Republican voters to meet state ballot requirements. As a result, it is hoping for a technical reprieve to help the governor keep his Great Lakes strategy afloat.
What’s really crazy here is that apparently Pennsylvania does not validate signatures turned in on petitions. Under such a system, somebody could submit pages of invalid signatures, and the state puts the burden of proving that they are valid on the general public, with only 7 days to do so.
Here in Ohio, individual county boards of elections review signatures to make sure they are valid, such as confirming voter registration, address and political party. Apparently not so in Pennsylvania.
Kasich still has a very real chance of being removed from the ballot. Or he could remain due to a technicality, since we now know that he didn’t meet the same requirements that the other candidates apparently did. Remember that Pennsylvania is a big part of his “home game” strategy, since it is next door to Ohio and the state where he grew up.
We will find out what the courts rule within the next couple of weeks.