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PRINTER'S NO. 1114
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
886
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY GEBHARD AND MENSCH, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), entitled
"An act concerning elections, including general, municipal,
special and primary elections, the nomination of candidates,
primary and election expenses and election contests; creating
and defining membership of county boards of elections;
imposing duties upon the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
courts, county boards of elections, county commissioners;
imposing penalties for violation of the act, and codifying,
revising and consolidating the laws relating thereto; and
repealing certain acts and parts of acts relating to
elections," in district election officers, further providing
for election officers to be sworn; in dates of elections and
primaries and special elections, further providing for
affidavits of candidates; in nomination of candidates,
further providing for petition may consist of several sheets
and affidavit of circulator, for affidavits of candidates,
for examination of nomination petitions, certificates and
papers and return of rejected nomination petitions,
certificates and papers, for vacancy in party nomination by
failure to pay filing fee or for failure to file loyalty
oath, for affidavits of candidates, for filling of certain
vacancies in public office by means of nomination
certificates and nomination papers and for substituted
nominations to fill certain vacancies for a November
election; in ballots, further providing for form of ballots
and printing ballots; in returns of primaries and elections,
further providing for manner of computing irregular ballots;
and replacing references to "justice of the peace" with
"magisterial district judge."
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 406, 630.1, 909, 910, 976, 978.1, 981.1,
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993(a) and (b) and 998(a) and (b) of the act of June 3, 1937
(P.L.1333, No.320), known as the Pennsylvania Election Code, are
amended to read:
Section 406. Election Officers to Be Sworn.--All judges,
inspectors, clerks of election and machine inspectors shall,
before entering upon their duties at any primary or election, be
duly sworn in the presence of each other and of the watchers and
overseers, if any. The judge shall first be sworn by the
minority inspector or by a magistrate, alderman or [justice of
the peace] magisterial district judge, and the inspectors,
clerks and machine inspectors shall then be sworn by the judge.
Each of them shall forthwith sign in duplicate the oath taken by
him upon forms to be furnished by the county board, and the same
shall be attested by the officer who administered the oath.
Section 630.1. Affidavits of Candidates.--Each candidate for
any State, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township,
school district or poor district office, or for the office of
United States Senator or Representative in Congress, selected as
provided in section 630 of this act, shall file with the
nomination certificate an affidavit stating--(a) his residence,
with street and number, if any, and his post-office address; (b)
his election district, giving city, borough, town or township;
(c) the name of the office for which he consents to be a
candidate; (d) that he is eligible for such office; (e) that he
will not knowingly violate any provision of this act, or of any
law regulating and limiting election expenses and prohibiting
corrupt practices in connection therewith; (f) unless he is a
candidate for [judge of a court of common pleas,] the
Philadelphia Municipal Court or for the office of school board
in a district where that office is elective [or for the office
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of justice of the peace,] that he is not a candidate for the
same office of any party or political body other than the one
designated in such certificate; (g) that he is aware of the
provisions of section 1626 of this act requiring election and
post-election reporting of campaign contributions and
expenditures; and (h) that he is not a candidate for an office
which he already holds, the term of which is not set to expire
in the same year as the office subject to the affidavit.
Section 909. Petition May Consist of Several Sheets;
Statement of Circulator.--Said nomination petition may be on one
or more sheets, and different sheets must be used for signers
resident in different counties. If more than one sheet is used,
they shall be bound together when offered for filing if they are
intended to constitute one petition, and each sheet shall be
numbered consecutively beginning with number one, at the foot of
each page. In cases of petitions for delegate or alternate
delegate to National conventions, each sheet shall contain a
notation indicating the presidential candidate to whom he is
committed or the term "uncommitted." Each sheet shall have
appended thereto the statement of the circulator of each sheet,
setting forth, subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 4904
(relating to unsworn falsification to authorities)--(a) that he
or she is a qualified elector of the Commonwealth, who is duly
registered and enrolled as a member of the party designated in
said petition, unless said petition relates to the nomination of
a candidate [for a court of common pleas,] for the Philadelphia
Municipal Court [or for justice of the peace], in which event
the circulator need not be a duly registered and enrolled member
of the designated party; (b) his residence, giving city, borough
or township, with street and number, if any; (c) that the
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signers thereto signed with full knowledge of the contents of
the petition; (d) that their respective residences are correctly
stated therein; (e) that they all reside in the county named in
the statement; (f) that each signed on the date set opposite his
name; and (g) that, to the best of the circulator's knowledge
and belief, the signers are qualified electors and duly
registered and enrolled members of the designated party of the
State, or of the political district, as the case may be.
Section 910. Affidavits of Candidates.--Each candidate for
any State, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township,
ward, school district, poor district, election district, party
office, party delegate or alternate, or for the office of United
States Senator or Representative in Congress, shall file with
his nomination petition his affidavit stating--(a) his
residence, with street and number, if any, and his post-office
address; (b) his election district, giving city, borough, town
or township; (c) the name of the office for which he consents to
be a candidate; (d) that he is eligible for such office; (e)
that he will not knowingly violate any provision of this act, or
of any law regulating and limiting nomination and election
expenses and prohibiting corrupt practices in connection
therewith; (f) unless he is a candidate for [judge of a court of
common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or for the
office of school director in a district where that office is
elective [or for the office of justice of the peace], that he is
not a candidate for nomination for the same office of any party
other than the one designated in such petition; (g) if he is a
candidate for a delegate, or alternate delegate, member of State
committee, National committee or party officer, that he is a
registered and enrolled member of the designated party; (h) if
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he is a candidate for delegate or alternate delegate the
presidential candidate to whom he is committed or the term
"uncommitted"; (i) that he is aware of the provisions of section
1626 of this act requiring pre-election and post-election
reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures; and (j)
that he is not a candidate for an office which he already holds,
the term of which is not set to expire in the same year as the
office subject to the affidavit. In cases of petitions for
delegate and alternate delegate to National conventions, the
candidate's affidavit shall state that his signature to the
delegate's statement, as hereinafter set forth, if such
statement is signed by said candidate, was affixed to the sheet
or sheets of said petition prior to the circulation of same. In
the case of a candidate for nomination as President of the
United States, it shall not be necessary for such candidate to
file the affidavit required in this section to be filed by
candidates, but the post-office address of such candidate shall
be stated in such nomination petition.
Section 976. Examination of Nomination Petitions,
Certificates and Papers; Return of Rejected Nomination
Petitions, Certificates and Papers.--When any nomination
petition, nomination certificate or nomination paper is
presented in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth or
of any county board of elections for filing within the period
limited by this act, it shall be the duty of the said officer or
board to examine the same. No nomination petition, nomination
paper or nomination certificate shall be permitted to be filed
if--(a) it contains material errors or defects apparent on the
face thereof, or on the face of the appended or accompanying
affidavits; or (b) it contains material alterations made after
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signing without the consent of the signers; or (c) it does not
contain a sufficient number of signatures as required by law;
Provided, however, That the Secretary of the Commonwealth or the
county board of elections, although not hereby required so to
do, may question the genuineness of any signature or signatures
appearing thereon, and if he or it shall thereupon find that any
such signature or signatures are not genuine, such signature or
signatures shall be disregarded in determining whether the
nomination petition, nomination paper or nomination certificate
contains a sufficient number of signatures as required by law;
or (d) in the case of nomination petitions, if nomination
petitions have been filed for printing the name of the same
person for the same office, except [the office of judge of a
court of common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or the
office of school director in districts where that office is
elective [or the office of justice of the peace] upon the
official ballot of more than one political party; or (e) in the
case of nomination papers, if the candidate named therein has
filed a nomination petition for any public office for the
ensuing primary, or has been nominated for any such office by
nomination papers previously filed; or (f) if the nomination
petitions or papers are not accompanied by the filing fee or
certified check required for said office; or (g) in the case of
nomination papers, the appellation set forth therein is
identical with or deceptively similar to the words used by any
existing party or by any political body which has already filed
nomination papers for the same office, or if the appellation set
forth therein contains part of the name, or an abbreviation of
the name or part of the name of an existing political party, or
of a political body which has already filed nomination papers
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for the same office. The invalidity of any sheet of a nomination
petition or nomination paper shall not affect the validity of
such petition or paper if a sufficient petition or paper remains
after eliminating such invalid sheet. The action of said officer
or board in refusing to receive and file any such nomination
petition, certificate or paper, may be reviewed by the court
upon an application to compel its reception as of the date when
it was presented to the office of such officer or board:
Provided, however, That said officer or board shall be entitled
to a reasonable time in which to examine any petitions,
certificates or papers, and to summon and interrogate the
candidates named therein, or the persons presenting said
petitions, certificates or papers, and his or their retention of
same for the purpose of making such examination or interrogation
shall not be construed as an acceptance or filing.
Upon completion of any examination, if any nomination
petition, certificate or paper is found to be defective, it
shall forthwith be rejected and returned to the candidate or one
of the candidates named therein, together with a statement of
the reasons for such rejection:
Provided further, That no nomination petition, nomination
paper or nomination certificate shall be permitted to be filed,
if the political party or political body referred to therein
shall be composed of a group of electors whose purposes or aims,
or one of whose purposes or aims, is the establishment, control,
conduct, seizure or overthrow of the Government of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America by
the use of force, violence, military measure or threats of one
or more of the foregoing. The authority to reject such
nomination petition, paper or certificate for this reason shall,
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when filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, be vested in
a committee composed of the Governor, the Attorney General and
the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and when filed with any
county board of elections shall be vested in such board. If in
such case the committee or board, as the case may be, shall
conclude that the acceptance of such nomination petition, paper
or certificate should be refused, it shall within two days of
the filing of such nomination petition, paper or certificate fix
a place and a time five days in advance for hearing the matter,
and notice thereof shall be given to all parties affected
thereby. At the time and place so fixed the committee or board,
as the case may be, shall hear testimony, but shall not be bound
by technical rules of evidence. The testimony presented shall be
stenographically recorded and made a part of the record of the
committee or board. Within two days after such hearing the
committee or board, if satisfied upon competent evidence that
the said nomination petition, paper or certificate is not
entitled to be accepted and filed, it shall announce its
decision and immediately notify the parties affected thereby.
Failure to announce decision within two days after such hearing
shall be conclusive that such nomination petition, paper or
certificate has been accepted and filed. The decision of said
committee or board in refusing to accept and file such
nomination petition, paper or certificate may be reviewed by the
court upon an application to compel its reception as of the date
when presented to the Secretary of the Commonwealth or such
board. The application shall be made within two days of the time
when such decision is announced. If the application is properly
made, any judge of said court may fix a time and place for
hearing the matter in dispute, of which notice shall be served
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with a copy of said application upon the Secretary of the
Commonwealth or the county board of elections, as the case may
be. At the time so fixed, the court, or any judge thereof
assigned for the purpose, shall hear the case de novo. If after
such hearing the said court shall find that the decision of the
committee or the board was erroneous, it shall issue its mandate
to the committee or board to correct its decision and to accept
and file the nomination paper, petition or certificate. From any
decision of the court an appeal may be taken within two days
after the entry thereof. It shall be the duty of the said court
to fix the hearing and to announce its decision within such
period of time as will permit the Secretary of the Commonwealth
or the county board of elections to permit the names of the
candidates affected by the court's decision to be printed on the
ballot, if the court should so determine.
Section 978.1. Vacancy in Party Nomination by Failure to Pay
Filing Fee or for Failure to File Loyalty Oath.--Every person
nominated at any primary election as the candidate of any
political party for any office, other than a borough, town,
township, school district or poor district office, or the office
of [justice of the peace] magisterial district judge, or
constable, who has not paid the filing fee required by section
nine hundred thirteen of this act, as amended, for the filing of
a nomination petition for such office, or who has not filed the
loyalty oath required by section 14, act of December 22, 1951
(P.L.1726), known as the "Pennsylvania Loyalty Act," as last
amended June 19, 1961 (P.L.446), shall pay the amount of such
fee to and file such oath with the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, or the county board of elections, as the case may
be, at least eighty-five (85) days previous to the day of the
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general or municipal election at which such candidate's name
would appear on the ballot. Failure to pay such fee or file such
oath within the time herein prescribed shall result in a vacancy
in such party nomination. Such vacancy shall be filled in the
manner hereinafter provided for the filling of such vacancies
happening by reason of the death or withdrawal of any candidate.
Section 981.1. Affidavits of Candidates.--Each candidate for
any State, county, city, borough, incorporated town, township,
ward, school district, poor district or election district
office, or for the office of United States Senator or
Representative in Congress, selected as provided in sections 979
and 980 of this act, shall file with the substituted nomination
certificate an affidavit stating--(a) his residence, with street
and number, if any, and his post-office address; (b) his
election district, giving city, borough, town or township; (c)
the name of the office for which he consents to be a candidate;
(d) that he is eligible for such office; (e) that he will not
knowingly violate any provision of this act, or of any law
regulating and limiting election expenses and prohibiting
corrupt practices in connection therewith; (f) unless he is a
candidate for [judge of a court of common pleas,] the
Philadelphia Municipal Court or for the office of school board
in a district where that office is elective [or for the office
of justice of the peace], that he is not a candidate for the
same office of any party or political body other than the one
designated in such certificate; (g) that he is aware of the
provisions of section 1626 of this act requiring election and
post-election reporting of campaign contributions and
expenditures; and (h) that he is not a candidate for an office
which he already holds, the term of which is not set to expire
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in the same year as the office subject to the affidavit.
Section 993. Filling of Certain Vacancies in Public Office
by Means of Nomination Certificates and Nomination Papers.--(a)
In all cases where a vacancy shall occur for any cause in an
elective public office, including that of judge of a court of
record, at a time when such vacancy is required by the
provisions of the Constitution or the laws of this Commonwealth
to be filled at the ensuing election but at a time when
nominations for such office cannot be made under any other
provision of this act, nominations to fill such vacancies shall
be made by political parties in accordance with party rules
relating to the filling of vacancies by means of nomination
certificates in the form prescribed in section nine hundred
ninety-four of this act, and by political bodies by means of
nomination papers in accordance with the provisions of sections
nine hundred fifty-one, nine hundred fifty-two and nine hundred
fifty-four of this act. No such nomination certificate shall
nominate any person who has already been nominated by any other
political party or by any political body for the same office
unless such person is a candidate for [the office of judge of a
court of common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or for
the office of school director in districts where that office is
elective [or for the office of justice of the peace]. No such
nomination papers shall nominate any person who has already been
nominated by any political party or by any other political body
for any office to be filled at the ensuing November election,
unless such person is a candidate for [the office of judge of a
court of common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or for
the office of school director in districts where that office is
elective [or for the office of justice of the peace].
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(b) Said nomination certificates and nomination papers for
State public offices and judges of courts of records shall be
filed in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at
least fifty (50) days prior to a general or municipal election,
as the case may be. Nomination certificates and nomination
papers for public offices in counties, cities, boroughs, towns,
townships, wards and school districts and for the offices of
aldermen and [justices of the peace] magisterial district judges
shall be filed in the office of the county board of elections at
least fifty (50) days prior to a municipal election.
* * *
Section 998. Substituted Nominations to Fill Certain
Vacancies for a November Election.--(a) Any vacancy happening
or existing in any party nomination made in accordance with the
provisions of section nine hundred ninety-three of this act for
a November election by reason of the death or withdrawal of any
candidate may be filled by a substituted nomination made by such
committee as is authorized by the rules of the party to make
nominations in the event of vacancies on the party ticket, in
the form prescribed by section nine hundred ninety-four of this
act. But no substituted nomination certificate shall nominate
any person who has already been nominated by any other political
party or by any political body for the same office, unless such
person is a candidate for [the office of judge of a court of
common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or for the
office of school director in districts where that office is
elective [or for the office of justice of the peace].
(b) In case of the death or withdrawal of any candidate
nominated by a political body for an election, the committee
named in the original nomination papers may nominate a
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substitute in his place by filing a substituted nomination
certificate in the form and manner prescribed by section nine
hundred eighty of this act. In the case of a vacancy caused by
the death of any candidate, said nomination certificate shall be
accompanied by a death certificate properly certified. No
substituted nomination certificate shall nominate any person who
has already been nominated by any political party or by any
other political body for any office to be filled at the ensuing
November election, unless such person is a candidate for [the
office of judge of a court of common pleas,] the Philadelphia
Municipal Court or for the office of school director in
districts where that office is elective [or for the office of
justice of the peace].
* * *
Section 2. Section 1004 of the act, amended March 27, 2020
(P.L.41, No.12), is amended to read:
Section 1004. Form of Ballots; Printing Ballots.--From the
lists furnished by the Secretary of the Commonwealth under the
provisions of sections 915 and 984, and from petitions and
papers filed in their office, the county election board shall
print the official primary and election ballots in accordance
with the provisions of this act: Provided, however, That in no
event, shall the name of any person consenting to be a candidate
for nomination for any one office, except [the office of judge
of a court of common pleas,] the Philadelphia Municipal Court or
the office of school director in districts where that office is
elective [or the office of justice of the peace] be printed as a
candidate for such office upon the official primary ballot of
more than one party. All ballots for use in the same election
district at any primary or election shall be alike.
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Section 3. Section 1405 of the act is amended to read:
Section 1405. Manner of Computing Irregular Ballots.--The
county board, in computing the votes cast at any primary or
election, shall compute and certify votes cast on irregular
ballots exactly as such names were written, stamped or deposited
in or on receptacles for that purpose, and as they have been so
returned by the election officers. In districts in which paper
ballots or ballot cards are electronically tabulated, stickers
or labels may not be used to mark ballots. A vote cast by means
of a sticker or label affixed to a ballot or ballot card shall
be void and may not be counted. In the primary the Secretary of
the Commonwealth shall not certify the votes cast on irregular
ballots for any person for a National office including that of
the President of the United States, United States Senator and
Representative in Congress; or for any State office including
that of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Auditor General, State
Treasurer, Senator and Representative in the General Assembly,
justices and judges of courts of record or for any party office
including that of delegate or alternate delegate to National
conventions and member of State committee unless the total
number of votes cast for said person is equal to or greater than
the number of signatures required on a nomination petition for
the particular office. In the primary the county board shall not
certify the votes cast on irregular ballots for any person for a
[justice of the peace] magisterial district judge, constable,
National, State, county, city, borough, town, township, ward,
school district, election or local party office unless the total
number of votes cast for said person is equal to or greater than
the number of signatures required on a nomination petition for
the particular office.
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Section 4. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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