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Vt. Loses Appeal on Nominating Process

Montpelier, Vt. — Vermont’s secretary of state has lost an appeal over the nominating petition process for independent candidates for president.

Independent candidates for president can get on the general election ballot in Vermont by submitting a statement of nomination with at least 1,000 signatures of qualified voters certified by town clerks to the secretary of state by a certain date. Last year, volunteers gathered 1,400 signatures from at least 22 towns and cities to get Ross “Rocky” Anderson on the ballot, but the Secretary of State Jim Condos said town clerks could only certify names appearing on the nominating petition and not on faxes or photocopies.

Anderson’s campaign manager, Benjamin Eastwood, and others could only get town clerk certification for 580 signatures by the June 14 deadline, noting that driving from one town to another to get the certification was time-consuming. Eastwood and three supporters challenged the constitutionality of the certification requirement that was applicable to independent candidates.

The trial court denied their request to eliminate the certification requirement, but gave them more time to file certified statements of nomination, and told town clerks to accept legible photocopies or faxes.

The state appealed, say among other things it was only a minor burden on plaintiff’s rights. But the Vermont Supreme Court denied the appeal on Friday, affirming the lower court ruling. — AP