Friday, March 16, 2007

Fayette candidate nominating petititions: "strike that name"

Net the Truth Online first-hand report continues March 16, 2007

What's missing from the mainstream local media news reports? A question put to the director of the Fayette County Election Bureau regarding the accuracy of the county database of registered voters.

In between afternoon court proceedings before Judge Steve Leskinen, Thursday, Net the Truth Online asked, and got an answer.

The Judge didn't ask the question, and the attorney for Mr. Sean Lally and the attorney for Mr. Mark Roberts didn't ask during questioning as that question would put the real culprit on trial - the voter registration rolls of the county.

If only there were some way to get the answer on the court record.

In order for candidate for Fayette County controller, Sean Lally to be removed from the spring Primary election ballot, less than 250 names/signatures would have to remain on the Lally nomination petititons.

A Primary candidate for the office of county controller needs to acquire a minimum of 250 signatures for ballot access.

Judge Leskinen did the math, noting a total of 436 signatures on Lally nomination petititions. Judge Leskinen noted 318 signatures were under challenge. At one point, Judge Leskinen subtracted 150 from 318, leaving 168 names, not enough to knock Lally from the ballot, he said.

150 names are contained on several pages under challenge for "improper affadavit of circulator."

Although Lally's attorney raised objection to the term for not being specific enough, Judge Leskinen allowed it for the time being. It was not clear whether some of those 150 names were additionally among those 318 highlighted for challenge for reasons noted as:

!signer was not found to be registered to vote in Fayette
!signer and address were not on the voter registration roll of Fayette
!signer was registered in the county of a different party (Republican, No Party)
!signer name was different than the name that matched the address of the signer - that address was found on the database system with a different name
!signer was registered at the given address but had signed two Lally petitions
!signer had signed both Roberts' petitition and Lally petitition - in several instances with the exception of one, Roberts' petitition had been signed at an earlier date - thus the later dated name was struck out.

Not all names challenged for the above reasons were immediately stricken from Lally's nomination petititions.

During the testimony of Laurie Lint, director of the Fayette County Elecion Bureau, Lint noted poll workers are to permit a voter who has moved from one location to another location in the county to vote one more time at that precinct. That information caused the need for approximately a half-dozen of the challenged names to be subject to subpoeana.

In addition, Lint testified a married woman could continue to use her maiden name at the given address for that name. Again, another half-dozen signatures could fall under that category, initiating a subpoena for appearance in court today.

Lawyers for both parties are to submit highlighted court cases which apply for the consideration of Judge Leskinen's review. He specifically noted objections from Lally's attorney, Timothy Andrews, made at the outset and during the proceedings would be taken under advisement.

Notably during Lint's testimony, the director was asked to compare signatures on the nomination petitions to signatures on the voter registration card/listing. Director Lint first explained the registration cards were scanned into the county's new database, called SURE. She further acknowledged she was not an expert witness regarding signatures.

About four such instances arose for comparison of signatures. On one signature, Lint said the signature appeared squiggly at the end on the voter registration listing with Lint suggesting the voter registration came through PennDot. It was unclear whether the name would be subject to subpoena.

Proceedings will continue today at 1:30 PM in Fayette County courtroom 3.

Net the Truth Online report (Thursday March 15, 2007 updated)

Tribune Review report

Fayette Co. supporters may testify about Lally
By Chris Foreman
Friday, March 16, 2007

Dozens of Fayette County residents who signed Sean Lally's Democratic nominating petitions for controller might end up testifying at a court hearing challenging his candidacy.
Jason Adams, an attorney for two-term Controller Mark Roberts, intends to issue subpoenas calling several citizens to testify today about whether Lally personally circulated some of his petitions, as Lally says he did in a signed affidavit.

Roberts claims his campaign volunteers informed him that some registered voters will agree to testify that they signed Lally's petitions, but that Lally was not the one soliciting them.

In a telephone interview, Lally described Roberts' actions as intimidation tactics...

Herald-Standard report

50 names stricken from electon petitions
By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard
Updated 03/16/2007 12:04:19 AM EDT

The names of more than 50 people were stricken from the nomination petitions of Democratic Fayette County controller candidate Sean P. Lally Thursday during a hearing in which incumbent Mark Roberts is attempting to have Lally thrown off the ballot.

At the end of the day, Lally's nomination petitions still contained 383 names after 53 were stricken, which is more than the 250 required to remain on the ballot. However, Judge Steve Leskinen recessed the hearing until 1:30 p.m. today, when testimony resumes regarding the validity of 150 other names, on petitions that in a separate issue Roberts alleges were not circulated by Lally.

If all of the names on those petitions are stricken, it would knock Lally off the ballot. In total, Lally obtained 436 names on his 15 petitions that he filed with the Fayette County Election Bureau.

While the names eliminated Thursday were for reasons such as being registered of a different party, not being a registered voter, signing Lally's petitions twice or previously signing Roberts' petitions, the majority of names are being challenged because Roberts is alleging Lally did not circulate his own petitions.

By law, candidates must provide the name of the circulator of their petitions and a circulator must sign an affidavit verifying that they personally circulated the petitions. The circulator of the petition must be present when the petition is signed and petitions can only be signed by registered voters of the party of the candidate that live in the voting district of the candidate. Registered voters are not permitted to sign more than one nomination petition for offices in which only one is being elected.

During the course of the testimony, 14 names were erased from Lally's signatures of registered Democrats because those people had previously signed Roberts' petitions.

Laurie Lint, director of the Fayette County Election Bureau, testified regarding what dates each of the petitions was circulated. She also provided information regarding addresses and registrations of names on the petitions.

Lally did not appear at the hearing, but previously said he circulated his petitions and has written proof of that fact.

After the conclusion of the day's testimony, Roberts indicated through his attorney, Jason F. Adams, that he will call individuals to testify who will say Lally did not circulate some petitions which contain his name as circulator...

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