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Kevin Suddeth's eligibility to be a candidate
The Herald-Times reported that a local woman has challenged Kevin Suddeth's eligibility as a candidate against incumbent Democrat Matt Pierce in the incredibly Democratic 61st state legislative district. Suddeth's eligibility is a legitimate question, so two paragraphs from the article merit special attention:
In the challenge, Farrell argued Suddeth isn’t qualified to run because he wasn’t registered to vote in Monroe County prior to a February deadline for candidates to declare their candidacy. She said her claim is bolstered by the fact the county election board later tossed out Suddeth’s provisional primary ballot, declaring it invalid because he wasn’t registered to vote here.
County Clerk Jim Fielder confirmed Suddeth voted provisionally in this year’s primary election, after he’d gone to his Monroe County Washington Township precinct to cast his ballot but discovered his name wasn’t in the books. He said Suddeth told local election officials both he and his wife had gone to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to transfer their registration from Greene County, but only her name showed up in the local polling book.
There are two facts and a claim that show it is entirely proper for Suddeth to be on the ballot in November. The facts are as follows: First, Mrs. Suddeth was registered to vote in Washington Township on the day of the primary. Second, both of them showed up to vote on the day of the primary. Suddeth says that they both attempted to change their voter registration when they visited the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
It appears that there was an error made by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and Suddeth's change of registration was not processed. The fact that Suddeth's wife was registered is significant, as is the fact that Suddeth attempted to vote in what he clearly believed to be his proper location. There is no reason to doubt Suddeth's claim that he made a good faith effort to change his registration.
Given these facts, Suddeth should remain on the ballot. He should not be denied his right to run for elective office because of a mistake by the BMV. More importantly, the voters should not be denied the right to make a choice in a district that has had major-party opposition only once in the last five elections. If Suddeth's candidacy is voided, it will set a bad precedent that will encourage partisan operatives to make "mistakes" to keep candidates off the ballot.