Election big off the ballot but fighting to get back on

Commissioner Stephanie Singer arranged for a public hearing on Thursday, June 5, for voters, campaigners and poll workers to deliver accounts of illegal practices they witnessed at Philadelphia polling locations during the May 20, 2014 primary. ( DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer )

CITY COMMISSIONER Stephanie Singer is gearing up for a fight to get her name back on the May 19 primary ballot after a judge yesterday officially removed her for failing to have enough valid voter signatures on her nominating petitions.

Singer, who was elected in 2011 to the three-member board that oversees city elections, had just 996 signatures as of late last week, four short of the 1,000 required to remain on the ballot.

She initially had close to 1,530 signatures, but that number dropped during a series of challenges last week before Common Pleas Judge Joel Johnson, who signed the order ousting Singer.

Three Democratic voters - Daniel Bucher, Ronald Reiss and Patricia Saalfrank - filed the challenge against Singer.

Her attorney, Charles Goodwin, said he had requested and received a hearing by phone at 2 p.m. today to try to persuade Johnson to reconsider his ruling.

Goodwin said he has found 12 voters willing to testify that their signatures are authentic and should not have been among those that were tossed out.

"If the court decides to hear those people and credit their testimony, you know what? We are on the ballot and they get to file the notice of appeal," Goodwin said.

Lawyer Richard Hoy, who represents the trio challenging Singer, said he will argue that Goodwin is too late.

"Where were those 12 people last week?" he asked. "The case is concluded. They've had ample time to bring people in. The case is over.

"She can appeal to Commonwealth Court if she thinks she's been slighted. That's my suggestion."

Hoy said the 12 people should not be allowed to testify for Singer any more than he should be allowed to challenge more of her signatures.

"She should have done her homework, but she didn't," he said. "She's the commissioner of elections. There's almost 1 million voters in Philadelphia, and she couldn't find 1,000?"

Goodwin said Singer was elected in 2011 with more than 120,000 votes, more than the other two commissioners, and that's a good reason why she should be on the ballot come May.

"Some way or another, we expect to win," Goodwin said. "It may be in this court, or Commonwealth Court or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But certainly, the woman who got more than 120,000 votes should be on the ballot."

 


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