Pennsylvania candidates are increasingly turning to the courts to settle election disputes — and vanquish opponents, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. State court administrators reported on Thursday that Commonwealth Court, which deals with election disputes involving candidates for a state office or higher, has handled a record 131 election cases this year. That tops the previous high of 117 in 2006.
Lawyers and judges named various reasons for the increase, including better access to voter registration databases and a shift to have more lawyers involved in the process. “What I’ve seen over the last 12 years is that campaigns are using it as an offensive tool — the courts and existing law — to strike their opponent off the ballot,” said attorney and county councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, who works in election law and is the co-chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association.