RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—The Richmond Electoral Board is trying to figure out how to move forward with November’s election after Judge Melvin R. Hughes Jr. overrode the decision of City Registrar, Kirk Showalter.
Hughes ruled that the eight voters Showalter deemed ineligible to sign Michael Ryan’s petition were actually qualified voters, and are all citizens of Richmond.
Showalter insisted that despite the judge’s ruling, Ryan is still short eight signatures and she said her review of the petition was precise.
“The accuracy was accurate,” said Showalter. “It depended on your point of view of the law.”
“The person had to be a qualified voter to sign the petition,” she added.
Ryan said, after Monday’s ruling, that he’s happy there will be competition on the ballot. After a brief respite Monday night, Ryan said he plans to start campaigning and informing voters of his plan to boost tourism and bring more businesses to the city.
“We've continuously plugged along,” he said. “We're not where we should be.”
In response, Ryan’s opponent and current mayor, Dwight Jones told CBS 6 that he welcomes the competition.
“We applaud any action that maximizes the vote and access to the vote,” Jones said. He also told us that the city is making good progress when it comes to tourism and bringing in businesses.
“Our numbers are up in tourism and not to mention, we are bringing the Redskins to town,” Jones said.
Ryan’s attorney, Joe Morrissey said the state will have to pick up the tab for these legal proceedings. In court last week, attorneys for the City Registrar and the State Board of Election argued that state law has a “no appeals process” for any candidate running for public office.
On that day Judge Theodore Markow ordered a temporary injunction preventing the City Registrar from printing the November ballots until Ryan was given a formal review.
Ryan needed a total of 500 signatures, and he collected 681.
He needed 50 signatures in each district, but he wound up eight voters short. He was three short in the 6th district and five short in the 9th district when the registrar deemed them ineligible.
Those eight voters lived in the right districts but were currently registered to vote in a different district in the city of Richmond.
Lawyers for Ryan said that a 1974 ruling and a 1995 registrar document declare that those voters are still qualified.