Carbon County commissioners on Thursday tried to calm a man who is seeking election as a Libertarian to the Penn Forest board of supervisors and who claims commissioners and the county solicitor were trying to block him from the ballot.
Matthew C. Schutter, 42, of 116 Stony Creek Road, Jim Thorpe, said he gave copies of his papers, signed by six people, requesting a nomination petition to the election bureau and to commissioners.
"I'm asking for my petition papers, which I feel I deservingly should get. I did give six signatures. Yes, they were printed with phone numbers that were witnesses to me being chair and witnesses to me being Penn Forest Township supervisor, a Libertarian candidate, in Jim Thorpe, two year term, candidate. I feel also by not allowing me to get my petition papers and my papers I need to get on the ballot. It is a clear violation of Section 5, Article 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution. It's also a clear violation of Section 26, Article 1, of the Pennsylvania Constitution," he said.
"I'm not going to tolerate the county violating my rights, which is the law of the land in Pennsylvania, which is the Constitution. I would like to see some action of the board making a decision today if possible, that I can get my paperwork," Schutter said. "I feel that Republicans and Democrats are interfering in our business to get on the ballot. I have as much right to be on the ballot as Republicans and Democrats. And I feel this board, including the solicitor, is stopping me."
Commissioners Chairman Wayne Nothstein told Schutter the county Election Board meets next Thursday.
"The form that you had submitted to me, you just stated with signatures. There were no signatures on the paper whatsoever. None," he said.
Schutter agreed the "signatures" were printed (typed).
"The Pennsylvania courts are clear that printed signatures are legal documents for election purposes. They do not have to be cursive writing," he said."The Pennsylvania courts are very clear on this subject," he said.
County solicitor Daniel Miscavige explained the process to Schutter.
"The Election Bureau is trying to help you on these things, and (election Director Lisa Dart) has been trying to assist you. I know you've also been in touch with the state election board, and I know what they've told you is consistent with what Miss Dart has told you," he said. "All we want you to do is get the election board an authorization on the letterhead of your regional office ..."
"We don't have a letterhead, sir," Schutter interjected.
"Just get us a letterhead signed by your officers, confirming who has the right to receive and file the nominating petitions on behalf of your regional party," Miscavige said. "That's all we're asking for. We're not denying anybody anything. That's all we're asking for, the same as we ask of anybody else."
Dart, contacted after the public commissioner's meeting, referred to state law, which states that the procedure for receiving nominating petitions from minor political parties requires a "letter of authorization on appropriate letterhead of the minor political party, signed by an authorized officer of the said minor political party, as to which named officer (officers) of the said political party are authorized to received and file nominating petitions on behalf of the minor political party."
Schutter, a William Allen High School graduate and bartender, was unsuccessful in his quest for a supervisor's seat in 2011 and in a 2010 write-in run for state representative.