Independents lose ballot slots due to technicality

Gary Tobin, who had expected to run for the Board of Education on the Independent line, will not be an endorsed candidate on the ballot this year because of a technicality.

That technicality not only wiped Tobin’s name from the Independent ballot: It also removed the names of a number of candidates that the Independent Party hoped to cross endorse on Election Day.

Republican Registrar of Voters Lynne McNamee said the problem was discovered before absentee ballots were printed, thanks to cooperation between a number of city and state offices.

The Independent Party had cross endorsed candidates in nearly every race; plus there was Tobin, who was only slated to be on the Independent ballot after losing a Democratic primary in the second district to incumbents Tracy Casey and Susan Glennon.

The Independents, led by Rocco Frank, apparently believed that in order to run a slate of candidates they needed to have gotten 1% of the vote in the prior election, according to Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith.

However, some last-minute double checking revealed that voter laws require that the party get 1% of the vote in each of the races to hold onto that particular race, Smith said.

When the Independents started running candidates several years ago, they began the process by submitting a petition for each seat on the ballot in which they hoped to run a candidate, McNamee explained.

Two years ago, the Independents did not run candidates in every race, and therefore lost claim to run in those races this year, according to City Clerk Linda Stock.

“So they would have had to go back and be petition candidates, and it was too late for that,” Stock said.

The Independent Party was able to keep names in several races, where it did get 1% of the vote in the last municipal election:  The party has cross endorsed candidates in the mayoral and city clerk race; four Board of Aldermen races; two Board of Education races, and one Planning & Zoning race.

“It can be a confusing thing,” McNamee said. “Thankfully it was discovered before any ballots were printed.”