Dems: Green Party petitions fake
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HARRISBURG -- Democrats claim that thousands of Green Party petition signatures are phony, including such names as Mickey Mouse, Mona Lisa, Woody Allen, Robert Redford, George Bush, Gerald Ford and Lee H. Oswald.
As many as 70,000 of the 93,000 signatures turned in Monday by Carl Romanelli, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, are invalid, Democrats claimed yesterday.
To be on the Nov. 7 ballot, Mr. Romanelli must have at least 67,070 valid signatures of Pennsylvania registered voters.
Democrats have filed a challenge to his petitions with Commonwealth Court. It could rule by mid- to late September on whether Mr. Romanelli remains on the ballot, running against Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey.
Democratic officials said that some GOP donors had contributed funds to help Mr. Romanelli's campaign and hurt Mr. Casey. Some money went to hire a Florida firm, JSM Inc., to circulate Romanelli petitions. There have been complaints about the integrity of JSM petitions circulated in other states, including Ohio in 2004, Democrats said.
Pittsburgh lawyer Clifford Levine, representing the Democrats, contended the Green Party petitions contained "multiple forgeries, false signatures and voter fraud'' and said Mr. Romanelli should be knocked off the ballot.
Most political observers say the Green Party candidate, who is on the liberal side of the political spectrum, would almost certainly take more votes away from Mr. Casey than from the conservative Mr. Santorum, so it's in Mr. Casey's interest to remove Mr. Romanelli from the ballot.
Democratic Party spokesman Abe Amoros said Democrats were more critical of Mr. Santorum than Mr. Romanelli.
"This is not about the Green Party,'' Mr. Amoros said. "It's about Rick Santorum and his supporters being afraid to face Bob Casey alone in November. They provided the resources to hire a signature gathering firm with a rotten history of fraud."
First Published August 10, 2006 12:00 am