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Council candidates win battle to get modified signature and ballot access

(WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 10:22 PM EDT
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UPDATE:

Signature and ballot access requirements have been modified for two Roanoke City Council candidates, following a lawsuit designed to help get them on the ballot.

The number of signatures for ballot access has been reduced from 125 to 50; further, the deadline to obtain those signatures has been extended from June 9, 2020 until June 23, 2020.

Read the court order on the PDF attached to this story.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The race for Roanoke City Council promises a crowded field of candidates for the November election.

The

and

nominees are set, but the campaigns of two who would run as Independents could hang on the outcome of a lawsuit.

Cesar Alberto and Kiesha Preston say the COVID-19 restrictions have affected their efforts to get 125 signatures of registered city voters, and they're taking state and local election officials to court in an effort to modify the requirements.

The lawsuit, filed this week by Roanoke attorney John Fishwick, says the candidates' right to free speech and free association would be violated if they're not allowed on the ballot.

"At best, continued attempts to obtain signatures is challenging," the lawsuit claims, "and at worst is in direct conflict with directives from everyone in the public health community, which only risks making a very serious situation worse and specifically exposes plaintiffs and campaign staff to additional dangers."

The candidates are asking for a modification that would reduce to 50 the number of signatures they would need, and grant an extension of the deadline from June 9 to June 23.

Fishwick is now working to schedule a hearing on their injunction request that was made.

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