Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Monday overturned a decision by Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey R. Sommer that had halted recount efforts by eleven voters in the county. The upshot is the original petitions filed by voters concerned about the accuracy of machine counts in the 2022 midterm elections will go forward.

The petitions were filed on November 18, 2022, the day after Chester County completed its vote count, and requested hand recounts of the ballots in question. On Nov. 28, while the petitions were still pending before the trial court, the Democrat-controlled county board of elections certified the results. The Pennsylvania Department of State also joined the county commissioners in challenging the petitions.

Without taking evidence, Judge Sommer dismissed the petitions and allowed the certification to be completed, comparing the petitioners to “the QAnon people.” He said that the petitions could not move forward without including allegations of specific suspected fraud in the precincts in question.

On appeal to the Commonwealth Court, the petitioners claimed that the county and the court had violated the state election code by refusing to allow the hand recount and in inventing the requirement of specific fraud allegations. 

The Commonwealth Court agreed. In an opinion by Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon citing a 2003 state Supreme Court opinion, the court noted that under Pennsylvania law and precedent, “it shall not be necessary for the petitioners to specify in their petition the particular act of fraud or error which they believe to have been committed, nor to offer evidence to substantiate the allegations of their petition.” 

In a press release following the order, civic group Chesco United called the decision “an historic victory for election transparency and security in Pennsylvania.”

County spokeswoman Rebecca Brain told Broad + Liberty that “the Commonwealth Court ruling about petitions for recount is disappointing, especially in light of the Berks County decision.  The Chester County Board of Elections is reviewing the court’s decision before considering the next step.”

3 thoughts on “Commonwealth Court allows 2022 Chester County election recount petition to move forward”

  1. So 11 voters in a county of 600,00 can attempt to alter the results of an election without any evidence or even having to state what they think might be wrong with the results. This is a victory for chaos agents and sore losers nd a loss for free and fair elections.

    1. I respectfully disagree. I believe that this demonstrates the exceptionally poor quality of election law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All citizens would benefit from a complete review of the current laws and court decisions to come up with what actually makes sense, then have the legislature vote on the output for possible consideration as amendments to the Commonwealth’s constitution.

  2. Recount would validate the election and discredit the petitioners. Why on earth would Democrats be against THAT? Oh, maybe because of the potential of finding election fraud. Oh, I forgot to say “with all due respect”.

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