Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Issues Order Regarding 2022 General Primary Election Nomination Petition Challenges
March 27, 2022
In light of the Supreme Court’s recent order modifying the General Primary Election schedule for candidates seeking seats in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and for State Party Committees in the upcoming Primary Election on May 17, 2022, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a Notice and Order relating to disposition of challenges to nomination petitions of candidates for those seats. The issuance of the March 25, 2022 Notice and Order will enable the Commonwealth Court to more expeditiously resolve petition challenges and to ensure the timely preparation of ballots.
Under the Court’s March 25, 2022 Notice and Order, objection petitions that are filed with the Court will be posted on the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System website at https://www.pacourts.us/news-and-statistics/cases-of-public-interest/general-primary-election-2022. The posting of an objection petition on this website will constitute service of the petition on the candidate. Prior to the Court’s March 25, 2022 Notice and Order, an objector was required to personally serve the candidate with the objection petition, which delayed the hearings on the petitions. The change in service will allow the Court to commence hearings on objection petitions within two days of the filing of such petitions, which are due under the Supreme Court’s modified calendar on Monday, April 4, 2022.
In addition, the Court’s case management orders, which schedule the hearings and set other deadlines for the parties, will also be posted on the website and will not need to be separately served on the parties. According to the Court’s Notice and Order, “All parties are under a continuing obligation to check the Court’s website to confirm whether a Scheduling and Case Management Order has been issued.”
Although objectors are no longer required to personally serve candidates, the Notice and Order requires objectors to notify candidates by email of the filing of an objection petition. Objectors also must continue to serve the Secretary of the Commonwealth as required by the Election Code.
The Court’s March 25, 2022 Notice and Order affects only races involving the General Assembly and State Party Committees for the 2022 General Primary Election on May 17, 2022.
These changes come following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Opinion in In re Petitions for Review Challenging the Final 2021 Legislative Reapportionment Plan (Pa., No. 569 JAC 2022).
The Commonwealth Court’s March 25, 2022 Notice and Order is available here.
The Commonwealth Court was established in 1968 and is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over state and local government matters. It also acts as a trial court when lawsuits are filed by or against Commonwealth officials and Commonwealth agencies.
Appellate cases are generally heard by panels of three judges in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, although, on occasion, the Court sits in other locations. Cases may also be heard by a single judge or by en banc panels of seven judges.
More on the Commonwealth Court and its judges can be found at pacourts.us/commonwealth-court.
Media contact: Stacey Witalec, 717-877-2997