Around New England

Rayla Campbell Sues To Try To Get On November Ballot, Report Says

September 10, 2020

Rayla Campbell is suing the state to try to get on the November ballot to run against U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, according to a news story published Wednesday night.

Campbell, who lives in Randolph, came up about 800 votes short of the 2,000 write-ins she needed in the September 1 Republican primary, according to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office.

She is arguing that the threshold should be 1,000 votes.

To make a party’s state primary ballot in Massachusetts, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representative must ordinarily get at least 2,000 certified signatures of registered voters who are either a member of the party or unenrolled. But in April the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court cut the required amount of signatures in half for all candidates, because of the difficulties of getting signatures during the coronavirus emergency.

So Campbell needed 1,000 signatures to make the GOP primary ballot. She fell short, getting 652. She appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which on July 13 issued a ruling denying her request to be put on the primary ballot.

Campbell staged a write-in-and-stickers campaign in July and August.

State law says that in order to make a general election ballot, a write-in candidate must get at least as many votes in a party primary as the number of signatures required to make a primary ballot.

The question is:  How many is that?  The ordinary number, or half that amount?

In the Republican primary Campbell drew, according to the Secretary of State’s office, 1,202 votes. That’s 798 votes less than the ordinary requirement of 2,000 but 202 votes more than one-half of the ordinary requirement (meaning 1,000).

Campbell is arguing that the court should — more than a week after the election took place — reduce the amount of write-in votes needed to make the general election ballot by the same amount the court reduced the number of signatures needed to make the primary ballot– one-half.

If the state’s highest court does that, Campbell will make the November ballot for the Seventh Congressional District to run against Pressley, a Democrat from Dorchester who is a member of a group of four left-wing first-term members of Congress of color known as “The Squad.”

Campbell’s lawsuit was reported Wednesday, September 9 by The Boston Herald, which did not say where or when the lawsuit was filed.

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