inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Former Towamencin Supervisor Marino Will Not Appeal Decision in Ballot Case

Despite receiving the most eligible votes in last November’s election, Richard Marino III will not be serving as a Towamencin Township supervisor.

Marino, the incumbent, tied with his challenger, Kofi Osei, and so the race was decided by Osei picking the winning tile in a tiebreaker at Montgomery County Courthouse.

But that tie was based on including improperly-dated ballots in the total. Osei received five of those ballots and Marino one.

Last month, in a landmark case in election integrity, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that mail-in ballots must have a correct date and the voter’s signature to be counted, as per Pennsylvania law. In other words, the six ballots in question should not have been counted.

That overruled a previous court ruling that found ballots from eligible voters did not need to have a handwritten or correct date on the envelopes.

The Third Circuit decision gave Marino hope that he would prevail in the Commonwealth Court.  But on April 8, that court ruled against him, and he decided not to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

In a Facebook post thanking his supporters, Marino said, “Ironically, according to both the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the man now sitting on the Board of Supervisors in my place did not win the election.

“Yet he will retain his seat due to a November ruling by a federal judge that has since been overturned and because our petition, in the eyes of the Commonwealth Court, was filed two days late. I’m sorry, but it just does not seem like a just outcome for the voters of Towamencin. That being said, I am not going to appeal beyond this.

“Given the makeup of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I have no reason to believe that they would render a verdict any different than that of the Commonwealth Court,” Marino concluded.

Marino is a Republican, while the Democrat majority in the state Supreme Court has earned a reputation for its partisanship.

Osei said, “I’m glad we’re finally able to put the 2023 election behind us. I really hope Towamencin can come together after a few contentious years.

“I supported the Marino camp’s right to seek legal relief as these sorts of things tend to happen in close elections, and I really can’t promise I wouldn’t have done something similar had the four-vote margin remained. I do, however, want to push back on their characterization of what happened.

“I have not attempted to intervene in the federal lawsuits surrounding misdated ballots, so I’m unsure why Marino’s camp consistently characterizes the (federal court) ruling as ‘interference.’ Counting the ballots was legal and arguably mandated at the time of certification. The state law conflicts with the federal law, and per our Constitution, federal law preempts state law.”

And Osei said it’s time for the state legislature to fix this legal pothole.

“This specific provision of Act 77 has been legally controversial since its inception, and I’m unsure why the General Assembly doesn’t simply remove it as the election officials don’t use it at all. If we want confidence in our elections, we need to remove this type of legal liability,” Osei said.

At the same time, Osei isn’t apologizing for how he won.

“I have now won three electoral contests in as many attempts. The Towamencin Republican Party hasn’t earned the right to run sloppy campaigns versus me, and I’m taking this last win with no caveats,” Osei said.

However, the issue may not be over yet.

The plaintiffs in the voting lawsuit, led by the ACLU, have filed an appeal asking the full Third Circuit to consider the case and rule. A decision is not expected before the April 23 primary.


Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or