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Appeal Denied: Kimberly Wheeler’s Name Will Not Appear on Democratic Ballot in Souderton School Board Primary Election

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling stating “section 909 of the Election Code does not impermissibly burden Candidate’s First Amendment right.”
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Republican Kimberly Wheeler’s bid to appear on the Democratic ballot for Souderton school board director in the upcoming May primary came to an end on Thursday.

In March, Souderton residents Melanie Lees and Mike Pipe challenged Wheeler’s Democratic petition that would have allowed her to cross-file on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

Wheeler needed a Democrat to circulate her petition and collect signatures from registered Democrats. By circulating the petition herself, she violated Pennsylvania’s Election Code and is precluded from appearing on the Democratic ballot.

BACKGROUND: Montgomery County Judge Tosses Kimberly Wheeler’s Democratic Nomination Petition For Souderton Area School Board Director

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge Cheryl Lynne Austin had ruled in favor of Lees and Pipe, however Wheeler appealed that ruling.

In her opinion, Commonwealth Court President Judge Emerita Mary Hannah Leavitt, wrote: “We conclude that the same party requirement for circulators in Section 909 of the Election Code is constitutional under the First Amendment as applied to candidate. We affirm the trial court’s order of March 17, 2023.”

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.

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