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SUNBURY — Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz will get his hearing in front of a senior judge over the denial of his election petitions because they were allegedly late.

According to Northumberland County Court Administrator Kevin O’Hearn, the hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 24 in Courtroom 1 inside the county courthouse.

O’Hearn said on Thursday the case will be heard by Senior Judge Thomas James, of Columbia County.

Matulewicz, through his attorney, Charles A. Pascal Jr., of Leechburg, claims he only learned the petitions were not accepted by the county election’s office through media reports.

Matulewicz filed for an immediate injunction Tuesday and declined comment on the filing and the upcoming hearing.

According to the court document, Matulewicz said he arrived to the elections office prior to 5 p.m. which was the original time that Chief Registrar Lindsay Phillips stated the office was open until.

When Matulewicz arrived, he said in the filing “some individuals were creating a distraction and some were objecting to his petition filing.”

On March 7, at the election’s office when he handed in his petitions, the time stamp said 5:01 p.m., according to county records. Phillips accepted the petitions while Matulewicz was signing the paperwork.

The office, which county officials said closes at 4:30 p.m., had three other county candidates inside at 4:45 p.m., including Sunbury attorney Michael O’Donnell, who is running for district attorney.

Commissioner candidates Slade Shreck and Vinny Clausi and Republican state representative candidate Joe Moralez were also in the office after 4:30 p.m. along with members of the public and media.

O’Donnell challenged Phillips and asked her why she was accepting the petitions, and Phillips said she made calls to state officials who said the office was open until 5 p.m.

Phillips then told O’Donnell that state officials called her back and said if the office was closed at 4:30 p.m. then that is the official rule.

Phillips released a statement on March 8.

“The petitions were accepted as a courtesy pending review and a check with state code/statute,” Phillips said.

In the filing, Matulewicz said he has never received any written notification from the board of elections on whether the petitions were rejected.

According to Election Code, if any nomination petition is found to be defective and rejected it would need to be returned to the candidate, the filing said.

“If in fact the board of elections has rejected the nomination petition of Matulewicz, it failed to adhere to the requirements of Election Code to advise him in writing of the reason or reasons for doing so,” according to Tuesday’s filing.

“Should the court not make an immediate decision on the underlying Mandamus action, the petitioner respectfully moves that this court issue a temporary injunction compelling his placement on the Republican Primary Election ballot,” the filing states. “The need for immediate injunction relief is urgent because the interests of the petitioner would be irreparably harmed as would the interests of the voters of Northumberland County, who could be disenfranchised in voting for the candidate of their choice if injunctive relief is not granted.”

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