NOT ON PRIMARY BALLOT, CANDIDATES ON WRITE TRACK TO ADVANCE, NUMBER OF WRITE-IN VOTES AND PETITION SIGNERS MUST AT LEAST MATCH.

Wilkes-Barre, Times-Leader

By BRETT MARCY

Tuesday, April 27, 2004     Page: 8A

HARRISBURG – Nate Sorber tried to get on the ballot for today’s primary election, but problems with his nominating petition forced him to take the only other route available – a write-in campaign.

Sorber’s name will not appear on the official ballot when voters go to the polls today, but he is confident that he’ll get enough write-in votes to challenge state Rep. George Hasay, R-Shickshinny, in the November general election.

He said he will have volunteers stationed at almost all of the polling stations in the 117th state House District. When Democratic voters arrive at the polls, Sorber volunteers will hand out rubber stampers so voters can use them to stamp Sorber’s name as a write-in.

“It’s not a hard step,” Sorber said of the write-in process. “It’s just a different step.”

But it can be a challenge to draw enough votes through a write-in campaign to reach the ballot.
According to state law, write-in candidates must garner at least the same number of votes as the signatures required under the nominating petition process.

That means, Sorber has to receive at least 300 votes to get on the November ballot.

“It’s not impossible, but it’s a challenge,” said Leonard Piazza, acting director of Luzerne County Voter Services.

Piazza said a write-in campaign is the only route for candidates not on the primary ballot to gain ballot position as a Democrat or a Republican in the general election.

Third-party and independent candidates still have time, though. The deadline for filing nominating petitions for the general election is Aug. 2.

Sorber’s write-in campaign is not the only one being waged in Luzerne County.

Thomas McLaughlin of Bartonsville, Monroe County, is trying to get the 1,000 write-in votes necessary to have a shot at being on the Republican ticket to face U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke.

Kanjorski’s 11th Congressional District encompasses parts of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties and all of Colombia, Carbon and Monroe counties.

If he fails, McLaughlin said he’ll seek to be the Reform Party’s candidate against Kanjorski in November.

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