What’s Next for “Crexit”?

| August 18, 2017


SENECA, Pa. – What’s next for “Crexit”?

(Photo: Aaron Bolinger (bearded man leaning over table) talks to Venango County Commissioners and Election Board members Albert “Chip” Abramovic (green shirt) and Vincent Witherup) at the July 25 Election Board meeting. Bolinger’s “Crexit” movement suffered a setback Wednesday when Venango County Senior Judge H. William White threw out the petitions that would have put a measure on the November ballot asking if a certain part of Cranberry Township could secede the township and become a part of Rockland Township.)

That is the question being asked now that Venango County Senior Judge H. William White threw out the petitions that would have put a question on the November ballot asking for a section of Cranberry Township to leave the township and become part of Rockland Township.

SHORT-TERM OPTIONS

Immediately the Venango County Election Board could choose to appeal White’s ruling to the Commonwealth Court, although that seems unlikely considering the cost involved in something that doesn’t affect the board in a direct way. And, in fact, two of the three Venango County Commissioners – Vincent Witherup and Albert “Chip” Abramovic – who make up the Election Board – commissioner Tim Brooks is the third member – separately said they have no desire to see the board continue in the appeal. Brooks wasn’t available for comment.

If the Election Board chooses not to appeal, it’s possible then that Aaron Bolinger and Heidi Murdoch, intervenors in the case who started the petition process to leave Cranberry Township, may be able to do so. While case law isn’t abundant, the belief of multiple lawyers that exploreVenango talked to believe Bolinger and Murdoch could possibly have that right.

Bolinger, when reached Thursday, said he wasn’t ready to comment on what direction his group would be taking but that he would inform media outlets via a media release when a decision has been made. It is believed that an appeal must be made within 10 days of Wednesday’s ruling by White.

If the case is appealed and the Commonwealth Court rules against the petitions it’s possible the case could be taken up by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, although whether the court would hear the appeal or hear it in time for the measure to be placed on the November ballot is unknown considering that step is still speculative.

LONG-TERM OPTIONS

If the case is not appealed or the appeal(s) don’t succeed, Bolinger and Murdoch could try the petition process again with boundaries more clearly set.

In fact, even if the measure is on the ballot and fails to gain support in one or both townships, there is nothing in the Pennsylvania Constitution that would prohibit it petitions for the same thing to be drawn up over and over and over again.

The deadline for petitions to be circulated for the November election have passed, petitions could be circulated to have the measure on the ballot in the next election cycle. It isn’t known whether that would be the primary election in May or the general election in November.


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