God seeks higher power
“God” real name: Paul S. Sewell
‘God' vows to appeal ruling on signature
City man Paul S. Sewell must sign his given name when he votes or his ballot could be challenged, the head of the county elections board says.
By Mary E. Young
“God” is plotting his revenge against the Berks County Elections Board, but he won't be working in his usual mysterious ways.
A higher power will decide if the board was wrong to forbid him from using his signature to vote, “God” said Thursday.
“I'm going to appeal,” said “God,” whose given name is Paul S. Sewell. “Who's got more authority, a judge or the commissioners? If they think they've got more power than a judge, we'll work it that way.”
Showing a folder crammed with copies of credit cards, canceled checks and legal documents, “God” tried to convince the board that his signature is valid.
“It does not stand for a religion,” said “God” of his John Han****. “Everyone who knows me knows that my signature is ‘God.' I've been signing that way for 10 years.”
But the board made up of Commissioners Judith L. Schwank, Mark C. Scott and Thomas W. Gajewski Sr. concluded its word is gospel when it comes to election issues and “God” must sign his given name when he votes.
Schwank, board chairwoman, said someone could challenge his vote because the signature would not match the legal name of the registered voter.
Elections Director Deborah M. Olivieri said other people could sign any way they wanted, creating problems with signatures on nominating petitions, too.
The 40-year-old “God” signed his initial voter registration form in 1995 with his given name, but signed a change of address form as “God” when he moved recently to North 10th Street from Moss Street.
A self-employed bond enforcement agent, “God” said he began using the signature because fugitives always preface their comments with, “Oh, ‘God',” when he captures them. His co-workers thought that was funny and started calling him “God.”
Shortly after the board questioned the signature of “God” two weeks ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation commanded “God” to surrender his driver's license on Valentine's Day.
PennDOT has refused to comment.
“God” said a PennDOT official told him the department questions all unusual signatures because of concerns about terrorists.
“God” has appealed PennDOT's order, and that case in pending in county court.
Contact reporter Mary E. Young at 610-478-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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