Thursday, July 30, 2009

Appeal dismissed in vote recount case
By Jennifer Harr, Herald-Standard
Updated 07/30/2009 06:15:34 PM EDT
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Commonwealth Court dismissed an appeal filed by a Fairchance man who wanted Fayette County officials to recount votes in two elections he lost in the May primary.

Robert "Ted" Pritchard Sr., who lost in elections for magisterial district judge and constable, argued that the voter removal provisions of the Voter Registration Act allowed for such a request. Last month, Fayette County Judge Gerald R. Solomon indicated that the provisions of the act did not support his requests, and dismissed his suit, prompting Pritchard to appeal.

Commonwealth Court agreed with Solomon's findings.

"(I)n making his argument, Pritchard does not recognize the difference between the relief he sought in the petition and the voter removal requirements," wrote Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Rochelle S. Friedman.

"In his petition, Pritchard did not seek an order mandating that Fayette County comply with the voter removal provisions of the Voter Registration Act. Rather, Pritchard sought an order to compel the board to perform a recount, to ascertain whether anyone voted fraudulently in the election, to ascertain whether anyone tampered with the voting machines, to ascertain whether the machine modules were correct and to ascertain who had access to the authorization code," she wrote.

Pritchard vowed to continue appealing the matter.

"I will appeal it to the Supreme Court, and I will take it to the U.S. District Court. As soon as I get the opinion, I'll be filing a notice of appeal," he said.

Commission Chairman Vincent Zapotosky said he is pleased with the ruling.

"The Commonwealth Court is a very respected judicial body, and I have all the confidence that (an appellate court) will stand by their ruling," he said.

Pritchard ran for magisterial district judge against incumbent Magisterial District Judge Randy Abraham and Senior Magisterial District Judge Brenda Cavalcante.

Abraham bested both on the Democrat ticket, and defeated Cavalcante on the Republican ticket as well, virtually assuring a victory in the fall.

Pritchard did not cross-file, and only appeared on the Democrat ballot.

On the Democratic ticket, Pritchard, who has run for other offices over the years, received 63 votes. Abraham received 3,012 votes and Cavalcante received 970 votes.

The court also denied Pritchard's motion to stop the county from certifying the election results, but granted his motion to throw out the county's brief because it was not filed in time.

Pritchard, who unsuccessfully ran for county sheriff and dropped out of a race for Congress, has announced his plans to mount a bid for lieutenant governor.

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