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Lynch Won't Appeal Moderate Party Ballot Access Ruling

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch has just announced that he will not appeal a federal court ruling that delivered a partial ballot-access victory to the fledgling Moderate Party.

A second party in the case, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, had already indicated that he would not appeal. And the third and final defendant, the state's Board of Elections, will not appeal either, it appears. Robert Kando, executive director of the board, noted that the agency's executive body - a board of commissioners - does not have a scheduled meeting before the deadline to appeal at the end of this week.

Lynch's press release, which explains the basics of the ruling, below:

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch today announced that he will not seek appellate review of the federal court’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Moderate Party of Rhode Island against the Secretary of State and the Board of Elections.  In a May 29 decision, U. S. District Court Judge William Smith upheld Rhode Island’s requirement that a new party seeking placement on a statewide ballot must collect signatures equal in number to five percent of the votes cast in the previous election.  Judge Smith did, however, declare a sentence in the same statute that prohibited collecting the signatures before January 1 of an election year to be invalid.

“Judge Smith’s decision provides both the state and new political parties with guidelines to obtain access to Rhode Island ballots,” Lynch said.  “While it upholds the state’s right to require a minimum number of signatures to ensure the legitimacy of a new party, it eases the rules for a party to comply with the requirement to place individuals on a statewide ballot.”

Any remaining uncertainty as to the time period in which a new party can obtain the required number of signatures can be addressed by the legislature by amending the invalid portion of the statute.

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