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What Are Nomination Petitions? And Why Do They Matter?

The countdown is on as time is running out before the start of nomination petition signing season.

What? Nomination petition signing season?

In order for a candidate to appear on the primary ballot in Pennsylvania, the candidate must secure a specified number of valid signatures on nomination petition forms, from voters who are registered in the same party as the candidate.

The first day that a candidate for office can begin obtaining signatures is January 23 and the last day is February 13. It’s a three-week sprint for campaigns.

Pennsylvania requires a specific number of nomination petition signatures for candidates for elected office.

  • United States President | United States Senator
    • 2,000 signatures are required from all over the state
  • U.S. Representative
    • 1,000 signatures are required from within the Congressional District
  • Statewide Offices (i.e. Attorney General, Auditor General, Treasurer)
    • 1,000 signatures are required from all over the state
  • Pennsylvania State Senator
    • 500 signatures are required from within Senatorial District
  • Pennsylvania State House Representative
    • 300 signatures are required from within the House District
  • Delegate to the National Convention
    • 250 signatures are required

 

Non-compliance with any of the below instructions could cause rejection of your signature and /or the petition.

1. USE INK.

2. DO NOT USE DITTO MARKS anywhere on the petition.

3. Make sure that all blank spaces which appear at the top of the front page of the nomination petition are completed BEFORE you sign the petition.

4. TO SIGN A PETITION YOU MUST:

  • Be a registered Democrat or Republican
  • Find your voter registration information, including Precinct, County, Municipality HERE
  • Reside in the electoral district referred to in the petition
  • Find your US Congressional and PA House District HERE

 

5. On the petition, you must provide:

  • Your street address, not a post office box.
  • The municipality where you pay taxes. This may be different than your mailing address.
    Ex. Your mailing address is Lancaster, but your municipality is Manheim Township.
    Find your municipality HERE.
  • The date of signing may be listed in numbers or words; e.g. 1-23-2024, or 1/23/2024, or as January 23, 2024
  • Your name should match your voter registration information. You must use your first and last name, not a nickname, or a spouse’s first name, (Mrs. John Jones is invalid, Mary Jones is valid). Find your voter registration information HERE
  • Signers at the same residence CANNOT USE DITTO MARKS for last name, address, or any other information that already appears on the petition.

 

6. The number of candidate petitions you can sign for a specific position are dependent on the number of openings in that position.

If there is an error made, strike out the entire line and the voter must rewrite information on the next line.

A candidate or campaign may challenge the individual elector signatures of another candidate/campaign. Grounds for challenges may include:

  • Not registered to vote
  • Not registered to vote at the address listed
  • Out of County
  • Illegible
  • Line Information Omitted
  • Duplicate
  • Nickname/Initial
  • Printed Signature
  • Defective Circulator Affidavit
  • Signed After Circulator’s Affidavit Dated

 

Upon the filing of an objection petition, the Court will issue a scheduling and case management order. The Secretary of the Commonwealth will post the order as well.

Trouble can also follow those who forge signatures on petitions.

In the 2022 Pennsylvania primary, Attorney General Michelle Henry filed filed dozens of charges involving alleged election-petition forgery against Kirk Rice, who gathered hundreds of signatures in 2022 for Democratic Congressional candidate Steve Irwin.

Henry’s office said that Rice gathered 437 signatures on petitions in all, but “many appeared to be forged or falsified.” They included cases in which voters told investigators they had not signed the petitions, and some in which the voters lived out of state.





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