Why is the RI Board of Elections Giving Erroneous Instructions to the Moderate Party?
Major congrats to the Moderate Party and their signature fiends … er, petitioners for the 30,000 signature that they have collected in jig time.
Now, unnecessary confusion is being created as to where those signatures must be turned in.
A little incident arose out of last year’s election that Republicans remember with a wince and the Moderate Party has been studying warily. In July, 2008, the BOE voted to disallow five Republican candidates
because the names had been filed with the Secretary of State instead of being submitted to their boards of canvassers.
Additionally, Rhode Island General Law 17-1-2(9) states
If the political organization wishes to select its nominees in a primary election, the petitions, bearing the requisite number of valid signatures, shall be presented to the appropriate local boards of canvassers no later than June 1 of the same year. If the petitions are validated by the local boards as containing the requisite number of valid signatures, the political organization shall be deemed to be a political party for all elections held during the year and may select its nominees in a primary election. If the political organization does not wish to select its nominees in a primary election, then the petitions need not be returned to local boards of canvassers until August 1 of the same year.
In three spots, then, Rhode Island law refers to the necessity of turning signatures in to local canvassing authorities. Further, as anyone who has collected signatures for a statewide candidate knows, signatures must be segregated by city/town and then turned into that city or town as only the local canvassing boards are in a position to verify the eligibility of all signers.
But the BOE is telling the Moderate Party of Rhode Island – insisting, in fact – that it turn in its 30,000 signatures to the Board of Election, not to the corresponding municipalities.
Does the BOE intend to simply turn all signatures over to local canvassing authorities? But that would be an unnecessary and unauthorized step; further to date, such a representation has not been made by BOE that such is their intent.
In view of both the history in this matter as well as the small matter of the law, wouldn’t the Moderate Party have to be chumps to follow the verbal instruction of BOE instead of complying with the specifications of Rhode Island Law?