City Commissioner Stephanie Singer's bid to get back on the ballot rests now on a legal Hail Mary pass that could score her big points or spawn bigger problems.
It all comes down to the testimony, scheduled for Tuesday, of a handwriting expert hired by the voters who sought to remove her from the May 19 Democratic primary ballot.
Common Pleas Court Judge Joel Johnson on Thursday agreed to allow Singer's lawyer, Charles Goodwin, to question that expert. Goodwin suggested the expert may not have analyzed all of the signatures that were challenged due to problems with the handwriting.
Johnson, who spoke highly about the qualifications for experts on both sides in the case, twice warned Goodwin that there could be "consequences" to his request.
The judge said revisiting the expert's report could lead him to strike even more signatures from Singer's petitions.
That would leave Singer, who has vowed to appeal to Commonwealth Court if she loses, with an even greater legal burden to overcome.
Johnson's order, striking Singer's name from the ballot, was filed Monday.
The deadline for an appeal is Wednesday.
Johnson, after a four-day hearing that concluded last week, ruled that Singer had 996 valid signatures on her nomination petitions, four short of the 1,000 required by law.
Singer filed 1,485 signatures. The challengers succeeded in having 489 stricken as invalid.
Johnson took a dim view of Goodwin's effort Thursday to now submit sworn statements from 16 people who claim their names were wrongly stricken. The judge said Singer had many chances during the four-day hearing to raise her concerns about those 16 signatures.