U.S. District Court Enjoins Pennsylvania Ban on Out-of-State Circulators, as Applied to Referendum Petition


On August 9, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Hornak, an Obama appointee, enjoined a Pennsylvania law barring out-of-state circulators, as applied to a particular referendum petition. OpenPittsburgh.Org v Wolosik, w.d., 2:16cv-1075. The specific law enjoined is P.S. 2869(a), which also covers the ban as applied to petitions to get on a primary ballot. That is a different statute than the statute banning out-of-state circulators for minor party and independent candidate petitions, which had already been invalidated.

The defendant had complained that the case had been filed too late. It was filed July 22, 2016. But the judge said that if the case had been filed sooner, then the government would have argued that there wasn’t enough evidence yet of harm. The proponents of the referendum petition were able to show that the ban on out-of-state circulators was threatening their ability to complete the petition drive.

Here is a link to the referendum petition’s proponents, explaining the purpose of the referendum.