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For Immediate Release
April 5, 2002
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Rules on Candidate Petition Challenges
Petition for House District 123 Invalidated; Petition for Senate District 7 Upheld as Valid

Augusta--Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky issued two decisions today on challenges received regarding the validity of two primary candidate petitions. The first decision upheld the challenge filed by Donald Pilcher of Orono against candidate petitions filed by Matthew S. Allen, a Republican primary candidate for the House of Representatives, District 123. In his ruling, Secretary Gwadosky found that the challenger had provided sufficient evidence to invalidate four signatures on the petition. Without these signatures the petition contained only 24 valid signatures, one short of the 25 required by law for a person's name to be placed in nomination as a primary ballot candidate. Since the petition did not contain sufficient signatures, Secretary Gwadosky ruled the entire candidate petition invalid.

The issue in the House District 123 challenge was whether several of the signatures appearing on Mr. Allen's petitions were actually signed by the persons whose signatures they purported to be. The attorney for the challenger provided testimony and an affidavit that, while their names appeared on the petition, Joseph Leveille and Thomas Oliver had not signed Mr. Allen's candidate petition. Additionally, the signatures of Eric Hitchcock and Jonathan LaBonte were invalidated based upon the evidence and testimony provided by Susan Hart, Orono Registrar of Voters, regarding those signatures.

"Falsifying signatures on a petition is a serious breach of the petition process and is a significant violation of the Election laws," stated Secretary Gwadosky.

The Secretary of State's Office referred the information it obtained during the hearing for House District 123 to the Attorney General's Office for further investigation into possible criminal activity surrounding the petition.

In his second decision, Secretary Gwadosky denied the challenge filed by Donald Pilcher of Orono against the candidate petitions filed by Steven Veit, a Republican primary candidate for Senate District 7. The challenge questioned the validity of several signatures contained on a petition circulated by Matthew Allen, as well as technical defects on the face of the petitions. During the hearing, the candidate withdrew the petition circulated by Mr. Allen. Regarding the remaining allegations of technical violations, Secretary Gwadosky ruled that "the challenger has not met the burden of providing sufficient evidence to invalidate the signatures on the petitions." Secretary Gwadosky ruled Mr. Veit's primary petitions as valid.

State law allows a political party to fill a vacancy by political committee when a candidate dies, withdraws (at least 60 days before the primary), or becomes disqualified after having filed a nomination petition. This provision only applies when a party does not have any candidate for the position after the vacancy occurs.


RULING OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE:

ON THE VALIDITY OF THE CHALLENGE BROUGHT BY DONALD PILCHER OF ORONO AGAINST THE PETITION FILED ON BEHALF OF STEVEN VEIT, A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR STATE SENATE IN DISTRICT 7, PURSUANT TO 21-A M.R.S.A. SECTION 337, SUB-SECTION 2, PARAGRAPH C.

1. On March 29, 2002 a public hearing was held for the purpose of hearing evidence relating to the allegations delineated in the challenge made by Donald Pilcher of Orono against the petition filed on behalf of Steven Veit, a Republican candidate for State Senate in District 7.

2. The challenge was filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, Division of Elections, on March 22, 2002 and contained the following allegation:

That several petitions are deficient because they do not contain the office sought by the candidate - these petitions list the office as "Representative to the Legislature" - while the candidate is running for State Senate. In addition, several signatures appear to have been forged by the petition circulator Matthew Allen.

3. Following a review of the Report of the Hearing Officer dated April 2, 2002 and of the exhibits presented at the hearing, I find that the challenger has not met the burden of providing sufficient evidence, pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. section 337, sub-section 2, paragraph B, to invalidate the signatures on the petitions identified as "Exhibit 1-A" and "Exhibit 1-B" and therefore find the challenge to the petition is invalid. (Since the candidate withdrew the petition circulated by Matthew Allen, no evidence or testimony was presented and no finding made on that petition.) I further find that there are sufficient signatures for nomination of Steven Veit to the Republican Primary Election, in Senate District 7, pursuant to Title 21-A, section 335, subsection 5, paragraph F and section 337, subsection 2, paragraph C.

4. This decision may be appealed by commencing an action in the Superior Court within 5 days, pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. section 337, subsection 2, paragraph D. A copy of the relevant statute is attached for your convenience.

Dated: April 5, 2002


Dan A. Gwadosky
Secretary of State


RULING OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE:

ON THE VALIDITY OF THE CHALLENGE BROUGHT BY DONALD PILCHER OF ORONO AGAINST THE PETITION FILED ON BEHALF OF MATTHEW S. ALLEN, A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR REPRESENTATIVE TO THE LEGISLATURE IN HOUSE DISTRICT 123, PURSUANT TO 21-A M.R.S.A. SECTION 337, SUB-SECTION 2, PARAGRAPH C.

1. On March 29, 2002 a public hearing was held for the purpose of hearing evidence relating to the allegations delineated in the challenge made by Donald Pilcher of Orono against the petition filed on behalf of Matthew S. Allen, a Republican candidate for Representative to the Legislature in House District 123.

2. The challenge was filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, Division of Elections, on March 22, 2002 and contained the following allegation:

That several signatures on the petitions appear to have been made by someone other than the voters.

3. I have reviewed the Report of the Hearing Officer dated April 2, 2002, together with the exhibits presented at the hearing, and the Hearing Officer's Memorandum dated April 4, 2002 transmitting the materials provided by Mr. Allen as comment on the Hearing Officer's Report. For the reasons outlined in the Hearing Officer's April 4, 2002 memo, I cannot consider the material provided by Mr. Allen as evidence, but have considered it as comments on the Hearing Officer's Report.

4. For the reasons outlined in paragraph 8 of the Hearing Officer's Report, I find that the challenger has met the burden of providing sufficient evidence, pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. section 337, sub-section 2, paragraph B, to invalidate 2 signatures on the petition identified as "Exhibit 1" and 2 signatures on the petition identified as "Exhibit 7" and therefore I find the challenge to be valid. I further find that with the invalidation of these signatures, the petition is invalid as there are insufficient signatures for nomination of Matthew S. Allen to the Republican Primary Election, in House District 123, pursuant to Title 21-A, section 335, subsection 5, paragraph G and section 337, subsection 2, paragraph C.

5. This decision may be appealed by commencing an action in the Superior Court within 5 days, pursuant to 21-A M.R.S.A. section 337, subsection 2, paragraph D. A copy of the relevant statute is attached for your convenience.


Dated: April 5, 2002


Dan A. Gwadosky
Secretary of State