Charles Gray no longer eligible for alternate delegate position
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania found that Gray did not acquire the necessary 250 signatures to run
March 12, 2012, 10:41 pm · Updated March 14, 2012, 11:40 pm·
After being challenged by a fellow student, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania declared that Charles Gray will no longer be on the ballot for the April primaries.
Gray, a Wharton and College senior and College Republicans chair, was running for an alternate delegate position for the Republican National Convention.
In late February, College freshman Seth Koren, who is also running for the same position, challenged the validity of the 339 signatures collected by Gray, a Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, for his petition to run.
At the court hearing on March 1, Koren was joined in his challenge by Walter Vogler, Philadelphia’s 21st Ward Leader who is running for a RNC delegate position. After considering the objections of Vogler and Koren, the Court found that Gray did not collect enough valid signatures.
Each candidate must gather a minimum of 250 signatures from qualified and registered electors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and of the political party named in the nomination petition.
Gray wrote in an email, “On a personal level, this is disappointing, because I’ve always wanted to go to the convention … But it is something that I have to accept … I appreciate all of the people who took time out of their days to sign the petition and those who encouraged me in the process. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
Koren still remains on the ballot for the alternate delegate position along with four other candidates. Three will be elected in April.
After becoming suspicious of the validity of Gray’s signatures, Koren checked them against an official voter registration base and concluded himself that 282 signatures did not meet the criteria. Vogler found that approximately 124 of Gray’s signatures were invalid.
Gray’s attorney Scott Sigman stipulated that 73 signatures were invalid, leaving 266 left on Gray’s petition. The Court found that 17 more of the remaining signatures did not meet the voter registration requirements, such as not being registered to vote in the correct political district.
“When I asked someone if they were a registered Republican in the district, and they said they were, I asked them if they would sign the petition. Sometimes people make errors and do not realize how they are registered,” Gray wrote.
After the 17 signatures were knocked off his petition, only 249 signatures were left to check, less than the required number to run, and the Court concluded its investigation.
Koren and Vogler were unaware of each other’s challenges before the hearing. “The end was accomplished. Gray shouldn’t have been on the ballot, and he isn’t now,” Koren said.
Vogler said he checked the signatures of other candidates as well, challenging two, Albert Lindsay Doering and Lewis Harris. Harris, also represented by Gray’s lawyer, remains on the ballot, while Doering withdrew his petition before heading to court.
Vogler also checked Koren’s petition, but did not find substantial invalidities to challenge. He added it was “nothing personal” against Gray.
However, Gray disagrees. “When I became involved in the Republican Party in Philadelphia as a Committeeman, I supported Ward leaders who believed in moving the … Party away from its failed leadership of the past and towards a more issue-based party … rather than simply accepting one-party rule,” he wrote. “Walt Vogler is one of the Ward Leaders who is part of the Establishment, and he did not support my candidacy for that reason.”
In addition, Gray wrote that the Republican Party agreed to endorse him at a meeting Vogler did not attend. “He was frustrated that he was not consulted during the endorsement. In fact, he told me in person that this is the reason why he challenged my signatures.”
Gray’s lawyer, however, was most upset with Koren’s challenge because he believed it was disenfranchising fellow students.
In response to people telling Koren to drop his challenge because Gray is a Penn student, Koren said, “I reject the notion that I should bend the rules or ignore invalidity or corner cutting purely because we go to the same school.” He would, however, help out a Penn student who did not break rules.