Beaver County Prothonotary Nancy Werme says she mistakenly notarized several nominating petitions for Democratic state representative candidates Alex Andres and Joe McGurk in a manner that violated the proper procedures for a notary.

Alex Andres is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the 15th legislative district hoping to fill a seat being vacated by Republican State Representative Jim Christiana, who is not seeking reelection; Josh Kail is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Joe McGurk is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the 10th legislative district, a seat currently occupied by incumbent Republican State Representative Aaron Bernstine, who is also unopposed in his primary.

Candidates for Pennsylvania state representative are required to submit nominating petitions to appear on the ballot. Those who circulate petitions for a candidate must sign an affirmation attesting they are the ones who gathered the signatures and that they followed the required guidelines while doing so. The affirmation must be made in the physical presence of a notary who can authenticate the identity of the individual and their signature.

The Beaver Countian received information from a source on Sunday night alleging at least one of the nominating petitions notarized by Democrat Nancy Werme was done without the circulator being present. As the Beaver Countian was investigating, an individual who circulated one of the petitions said they handed in the document with their signed affirmation, but without it being notarized, to an individual who was working on the Democratic campaigns. A copy of that petition obtained by the Beaver Countian from the Pennsylvania Department of State shows it now contains Nancy Werme’s Notary Public seal.

Prothonotary Werme said she was unaware she had notarized the individual’s petition before being contacted by the Beaver Countian. Werme subsequently went through the list of other petitions that had been filed by the candidates and was able to identify several additional ones she had notarized without the circulators being in her presence.

Petition circulated by Michael Sisk for Alex Andres that Nancy Werme said she erroneously notarized.

Nancy Werme said she believes the petitions were inadvertently notarized as the result of an incident that occurred on March 5th, when Democratic operative Steven Kochanowski and several others dropped by her home to have petitions notarized before taking them to Harrisburg the following day to meet a filing deadline.

“[Steven Kochanowski] was sitting there with me at my table signing a bunch of petitions he circulated and I was notarizing as Kochanowski was signing,” said Werme. “He must have had other ones mixed up in there and handed them to me and I notarized them without realizing it.”

Records from the Department of State show that Werme had notarized 8 petitions circulated by Kochanowski that night.

“I would never ask Nancy to do anything that I thought was done against the rules,” Kochanowski told the Beaver Countian. “I had so many petitions that night, we had been out getting more signatures, it was chaos. I was signing my petitions and there were probably some other petitions in there that I handed to her by accident, if it happened it was an honest-to-god mistake.”

Werme said among the petitions for Alex Andres she notarized that evening without the individuals being present were ones circulated by Erin Gabriel, Michael “Doc” Sisk, Ronald Nardik, and Wayne Kress. By the Beaver Countian’s count, those petitions amount to 93 of Andres’ total signatures. Among the improperly notarized petitions for Joe Mcgurk are ones circulated by Carol Gibbons, accounting for 31 of his total signatures.

Attorney Lauson Cashdollar, Solicitor for the Prothonotary’s Office, said that a person must be present before a notary while signing an affirmation, “The requirement is there must be physical presence, so obviously Nancy needed to pay more attention, but it was a mistake and it needs to be corrected.”

Under provisions of state election laws, a registered Democrat would be required to file a formal challenge to the nominating petitions alleging the circulators’ affidavits are defective before they could face possible exclusion.

Candidates for state representative are required to have at least 300 valid signatures to appear on the ballot. Without taking into account the validity of the individual signatures, Alex Andres would still have the minimum number of signatures required to appear on the ballot even excluding the improperly notarized petitions, although would have little remaining margin for error. Candidate Joe McGurk would not have enough valid signatures remaining to appear on the ballot.

Prothonotary Nancy Werme told the Beaver Countian she feels bad about the situation and hopes it does not result in any of the candidates being excluded from the ballot.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

34 COMMENTS

  1. One Democratic hack to another. Democratic operative? WTF is that supposed to be? Lik a mafia capo?. As usual, it’s an honest “mistake”. Why do they always make mistakes involving Friends & Family, Inc? Nancy, you are lazy or incompetent or more likely corrupt. This is why you have survived so long by lying, aiding and abetting corruption and being a political whore. Enjoy the pension you stole from you neighbors an d taxpayers, I would hope that you would feel horrible but you lack the decency to feel anything as long as you covered the “D’s“. Hope your remember this when you have to look your fellow citizens in the eye, God will not be so forgiving. You are little more than a common thief!

     
  2. happens all the time with notary. Not a story, move on to what’s happening in Aliquippa. Where is the Baden debacle? More interested in local stuff that in my opinion effects me more

     
    • You’re right. This kind of story could be reported on every election cycle. I’m not saying that it is right. I’m just saying that to the average person who’s never circulated and dealt with a notary, this looks like an isolated incident. As to someone who’s gotten signatures, everyone knows a notary that is “relaxed” on the process and would sign before the signatures were collected.

      Sometimes you don’t want to know how the sausage is made.

       
  3. I see it’s business as usual down at the ole Beaver County Shithouse.
    Corrupt politicians doing what corrupt politicians do.

     
  4. So, a veteran Prothonotary, who could do this in her sleep, and a group of Beaver County’s finest career politicians, who have done this many times before, made a booboo? Sorry, but this time you got caught bending the rules, and you blame it on confusion? Come on, guys, you screwed up. Next time use a calendar and a watch. And if Nancy wants to do after hours business out of her car trunk, go to Rogers on Fridays and set up a table.

     
    • Was gonna say, I’m sure this is just situation normal at the courthouse since the Democrats have been used to doing whatever they want whenever they want for the last 70 years. These days there are more people looking over your shoulder and I don’t just mean Republicans.

       
    • Camp, WTF would we expect from that name? With that name no one gives two shits what your opinion is. Another political nitwit yearning for the good old days, crawl back under your democratic rock into the cave with the rest of the political Neanderthals.

       
  5. Everyone makes mistakes, the Treasurer withdrawing millions without proper signatures, minutes of the Commissioner’s meeting altered, the (in)famous Plaque hanging and the quick removal, retirement party for someone who spent more time at the casino than at his desk, sale of FR which was supposed to ease the county’s financial situation but no one knew the actual price paid…everyone makes mistakes.

     
  6. “Beaver County Prothonotary Nancy Werme says she mistakenly notarized several nominating petitions for Democratic state representative candidates Alex Andres and Joe McGurk in a manner that violated the proper procedures for a notary.’

    Read the next paragraph. BOTH guys are running unopposed in their party primary. No big competitive advantage here. Now , if you want to complain about sloppy work , AGAIN, in the courthouse, well, that’s an ongoing story.

     
  7. Why does the prothonotary let Pamela Laird park her BMW in handicapped parking when she clearlly isn’t physically handicapped? She can be seen doing her walking exercises up and fown the halls of the courthouse daily.

     
    • Well, Mr Mouse you must be out of cheese since you are hungry to gossip about other people. Maybe you should call Harrisburg and see why she has a legal handicap tag or better yet you should get a life and enjoy your own instead of worrying about other people’s life and there handicaps.

       
      • Reserved Parking. Apparently you are unaware of the American with disabilities act. Discrimination against people with disabilities is never taken lightly perhaps you should educate yourself on this matter.

         
      • I love to watch the “disabled” parker get out of their vehicle and run into the place where they’re going meanwhile doing a back flip and holding a coffee. Leave the spots for those who are truly disabled. Walking a lil further might actually be good for some.

         
      • I agree with Lori DiCosmo, if you suspect handicapped fraud, copy down the handicap placard number or the car lisense plate and call the DMV, they will investigate. If someone is not disabled, he/she should be reported. We have elderly taxpayers who are truly disabled and need those parking places. If Ms Laird likes to walk the halls of the courthouse, why doesn’t she park her BMW many blocks away from courthouse to get her exercise?

         
  8. Is there ANY office in that place that has not been affected by screwups? Please tell me that a custodian is not a voyeur and that the law librarian is not skimming political donations off the overdue book fees. Oh, wait…

     
    • No one makes mistakes in your workplace? Or don’t you have a job, because every other post seems to be yours. Don’t get on here much but when I do I skim past your nonsense. I don’t work for the county but I’m in the courthouse often. Whether it be assessment, prothonotary or working with the courts they seem to be efficient.

       
  9. Prothonotary Werme said she was unaware she had notarized the individual’s petition. Likely story. It’s just what the democrats do Cheat, beg and steal elections. They must have taken advise from the Beaver Falls Democratic Committee on how to rig an election.

     
  10. So, it’s her job to read, verify, and double check everything, didn’t even read it?

    Good to know….

     
  11. She got caught doing something she shouldn’t have. She knew what she was doing and is just trying to cover it.

     

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!

Please enter your name here