Of Signatures and Sardines
Three commenters, Oz, Rhody and Anthony, expressed the view under Justin’s post “Is Getting on the Ballot Half the Battle?” that the task of collecting signatures for a state or local candidate’s nominating papers can be accomplished fairly quickly with some diligence and focus on the part of the candidate.
None of those commenters mentioned the sardine factor.
[Caveat: kids and candidates, don’t try this at home.] See, if you’re collecting signatures at a family cookout and some people are over at the barbeque grilling sardines, they can’t simultaneously sign your papers. So it’s necessary for someone else to sign all their names on your nomination papers. But this is okay as long as they call over from the grill, presumably with spatula in hand, and give that person permission to do so.
Actually, no, it’s not. East Providence School Committee candidate Brian Monteiro learned this first hand last week. 131 of the 285 of the signatures he submitted on his nomination papers were disqualified, leaving him forty six signatures short. Third party signing for sardine-occupied family members disqualified half a dozen of those signatures.
While one wonders how such an unusually high number of unqualified signatures made it onto his nomination papers, this is after all Mr. Monteiro’s first run. So his lack of familiarity with every requirement of this process is understandable.
Potentially less forgiveable, because unlike Mr. Monteiro, they will not be able to claim ignorance of election law, could be the actions tomorrow night of the East Providence Canvassing Authority. They will be meeting to hear challenges to the nomination papers of two candidates whose papers the Authority has already certified. I’d point out the party affiliation of two out of three Canvassing Authority members (Democrat) and the affiliation of the candidates to be challenged (not Democrat). But that might make me appear inordinately suspicious. Let’s just leave it by quoting Justin. In the event nomination papers are disqualified tomorrow night,
[I’ll be] curious which reason accounts for the most disqualifications, and if the former, I’d like to see some samples of illegibility.