As expected, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis has indicated he won't appeal a court ruling that handed the Moderate Party, a nascent third party, a partial victory on ballot access.
US District Judge William Smith struck down a provision of state law Friday that required new parties to wait until January 1 of an election year to collect signatures for ballot access.
Smith upheld a portion of the law that requires parties to collect signatures equivalent to 5 percent of the turnout of the previous statewide election.
From Mollis' office:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (June 1, 2009) -- A decision this afternoon by Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis eases the way for new political parties to be officially recognized under state law. Mollis will not appeal last Friday’s U.S. District Court decision striking down the constitutionality of a state law that restricts the amount of time new parties have to seek public support in a bid to become a so-called recognized party.“The decision gives third parties a fair amount time to collect signatures while ensuring there is a reasonable demonstration of the support of the people,” said Mollis.Ken Block – the founder of the nascent Moderate Party – had filed a suit challenging a state law that required new parties to wait until January 1 of an election year to begin collecting signatures in an effort to become a recognized party. U.S. District Court Judge William Smith let stand the portion of the law that set the signature threshold at 5 percent of the votes cast for president or governor in the previous election.“Now that the law has been clarified, I look forward to working with all of the parties involved to map out the process new parties will follow in pursuit of becoming a recognized party,” said Mollis.In his official capacity as the state’s chief election official, Mollis was one of three parties cited in Block’s suit. As Secretary of State, Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, helping business grow and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit www.sec.state.ri.us.