This is news. The Judges in Bucks County never, ever followed the law about filling vacancies for local boards of election. The statutes are really clear that a vacancy that occurs five days or more before an election can only be appointed by the court. It’s part of “Election Law, specifically 25 P.S. 2675(a) but it’s been observed more by ignoring it than following it.

The law is clear that it’s the job of the court to fill vacancies unless they happen within five days of the election. It’s also clear the court ignored it until this past Wednesday when Judge Cepparulo stepped up and for the first time in Bucks County’s history, a Common Pleas Judge approved a Judge of Elections appointment for Bucks County when he approved the appointment of a Judge of Elections for Northampton Township voting district #9.

A lot of Judge Cepparulo’s reasoning was provided in a letter to the court from four influential Northampton Township, Bucks County Republican Committeemen. They inserted their ideas and their into the case but avoided the usual procedure of giving the petitioners a copy of their letter. Their letter was sent to the court directly in another unusual procedure in a case full of unusual procedures. Judge Cepparulo was delighted because as he said during the hearing: “we’re writing new law here”. That’s his idea even though the State of PA wrote it into law decades ago. We should be happy the court is finally following this particular law but why did it take them so long?

The court went to an unusual amount of extra political effort to get this appointment made. For example, they scheduled a hearing before any petitions were filed. That’s like the District Attorney scheduling a trial before the police make the arrest.

Anybody remember the show trials of the 1930’s in Soviet Russia? The courts had to invent procedures to hold the trials because it was presumed the courts weren’t part of the police state. No one believes Bucks County is a police state but the use of an extraordinary legal process to kowtow to the wishes, whims and orders of politicians is not a comfortable thing to watch.

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