Pa. high court strikes down residency requirement for circulating nominating petitions

There are plenty of technical ways candidates for office in Pennsylvania can be disqualified.  But the state Supreme Court has ruled that a candidate cannot be stricken from the ballot because someone circulating his nominating petitions didn’t live in the district where the candidate is running.

“There have been every cycle for the last several years at least a few people that were knocked off the ballot because of the residency of one or more of their circulators,” said  Kevin Greenberg, a veteran election lawyer.

Pennsylvania’s high court has applied a federal decision, which found that it’s a First Amendment right to help candidates in another district, and that includes circulating their nominating petitions.

“It should be a little easier going forward to remain on the ballot once you collect signatures.” Greenberg said. “But the voters still have to live in the district. They still have to be the right party (if you’re running in a primary). So you will still see ballot-access challenges.”

The court ruled in a 2010 case involving a Lehigh County seat in the state Legislature.

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