Signature requirements for Pa. elections

Greg Gross
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Time is ticking for major party candidates to collect last minute signatures on their nomination petitions and file them by the end of Tuesday.

The number of signatures they must collect depends on which office they are seeking.

Candidates for the state House must collect 300 signatures while candidates for president must get 2,000 in order to appear on the ballot for the April 26 primary, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Since Pennsylvania has closed primaries only registered voters who belong to the same party as the candidate can sign that candidate's petition. For example, only a registered Democrat who lives in Democratic Rep. Kevin Schreiber's district, which includes York City, West York, Spring Garden Township and part of West Manchester Township, can sign his nomination petition.

And in this election, registered voters can only sign one petition for each race that will appear on the primary ballot.

"If it's only one open seat, a person can sign only one petition," said Wanda Murren, spokeswoman with the Department of State.

The candidates have to notarize the petitions and pay a filing fee that ranges from $25 to $200 when they file their paperwork.

Third party: The rules are bit different for minor party candidates, who generally have to collect more signatures but have more time to circulate nomination papers. minor party candidates circulate papers, major party candidates circulate petitions Since the candidates don't appear on the primary ballots, they can start circulating on Wednesday but have until Aug. 1 to file.

They'll likely need that added time since minor party candidates for president, U.S. Senate, Congress and statewide offices of auditor general, attorney general and treasurer have to collect 21,775 signatures.

The signature requirement is two percent of the highest number of votes cast in the prior statewide race, Murren said.

That is except if the total signature number is less than what a major party had to collect. In those cases, a minor party candidate has to get the same number of signatures that a major party candidate had to, she said.

A minor party candidate for the 31st state Senate district has to collect 500 signatures. Candidates for most House districts in the county have to collect 300 signatures, except for the 92nd (359 signatures), 93rd (321 signatures) and 196th (308 signatures) House districts.

Here's a look at the signature requirements for offices that will appear on the April primary:

  • U.S. President: 2,000 
  • U.S. Senate: 2,000 with at least one from each county
  • U.S. Representative: 1,000
  • Pa. Senate: 500
  • Pa. Representative: 300
  • Pa. Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer: 1,000 with at least 100 from at least five counties
  • Delegate and alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention: 250 each
  • Delegate and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention: 250 each

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