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Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Independent’s candidacy hits another roadblock

September 9, 2004

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— Horace Edwards' attempt to run as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in the November election has been dealt another setback.

Earlier, Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh had declared that Edwards failed to acquire the required number of signatures on a petition drive to get on the ballot.

Edwards appealed that decision, but his appeal was rejected Wednesday by the State Objections Board, which was led by Thornburgh.

"It certainly is not finished," said an obviously upset Edwards as he left the meeting.

Edwards said he might file a lawsuit, though Thornburgh said the decision was not appealable to district court.

Edwards needed the signatures of 5,000 registered voters to get on the ballot as an independent. His petitions had anywhere from 5,227 signatures to 5,480 signatures, according to various counts.

But Thornburgh said nearly 500 people who signed as registered voters were not registered in the counties that they listed as their homes. In addition, other names were invalidated because they were signed more than once, or the signers were determined to be ineligible to vote.

Edwards, however, argued the Secretary of State's Office violated the law by taking more than the required 10 days to validate the signatures. He submitted the petition Aug. 2, and the secretary of state wrote him Aug. 27 that he didn't qualify for the ballot.

Edwards also argued the Secretary of State's Office used an "improvised and makeshift" process to count the signatures. He said there was no requirement that the voters list their home counties on the petitions.

Thornburgh denied the process of checking petitions was done improperly but conceded it took longer than 10 days.

"It is more important to get it correct than it is to get it timely," he said.

Thornburgh said an attorney general's opinion gave the office leeway in meeting the 10-day deadline, but Edwards argued that extending the time limit was a constitutional violation of his rights to get on the ballot and start campaigning as quickly as possible.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," he said.

In addition to Thornburgh, Karl Hansen, an assistant attorney general, and Randy Mettner, a special assistant to Lt. Gov. John Moore, voted against Edwards.

The state transportation secretary under former Gov. Mike Hayden, the 79-year-old Edwards launched a petition drive to oppose U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. Edwards said Brownback had become too concerned with conservative social issues. One of his main places to get petition signatures was in Lawrence on Massachusetts Street.

Lee Jones, a former railroad lobbyist from Lenexa, is the Democratic candidate opposing Brownback.

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