Judge Joseph James has ordered Pittsburgh City Council to vote on the annexation referendum no later than April 5, 90 days from the order date of January 5.
Although one Wilkinsburg resident filed an objection which may have reduced the count of valid signatures to 1,027, that number was still enough to clear the 638 number needed. The court also rejected the argument that petition circulators must be residents of the municipality they are targeting. One person who was paid to collect and is not a Wilkinsburg resident or property owner collected 13% of the signatures. “Of 30 circulators, four were paid and five were not Wilkinsburg residents,” said the objection filing.
Troubling though is that the original filing contained 1,254 signatures and that Allegheny County Elections Division determined there were 1,263 valid submitted and did not invalidate signatures that the sole objector identified as problematic. These invalid signatures included 37 duplicate signatures, 3 signatories who live outside of Wilkinsburg, and 187 others that would not be valid under registration data or address scrutiny before even reaching signature verification. That county elections concluded there were more signatures than the original petition counted yet didn’t validate the signatures is a frustrating and disheartening event, even if such would not have inhibited the petitions from proceeding to the next step of the process.
Read the court records for yourself under court case GD-21-014817.