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Friday, July 25, 2014

UDATED: Ennis is out

Fails to make the ballot by two signatures, despite “do-over”
By Will Collette
UDATE: Ennis says he plans to appeal his failure. See his e-mail message at the end of this article.

The Rhode Island Board of Elections has determined that Cameron Ennis of Charlestown failed to collect the 100 signatures required to qualify for the November ballot to run as an independent against incumbent state Senator Cathie Cool Rumsey (D). 

The BOE credited Ennis with only 98 valid voter signatures on his Nomination papers.

On Monday, the BOE allowed Ennis an additional 72 hours to get his signatures validated after Ennis made the error of turning in all 100 of his signatures to Charlestown Town Clerk Amy Weinreich.

The candidates’rule book (see page 10) issued by the Secretary of State directs candidates who are running for election to represent more than one town to collect the signatures on separate sheets for each town. Then they must deliver the signed forms to the appropriate Town Clerk.

Ennis claims that he assumed Charlestown Town Clerk Weinreich would do that for him and that he wasn’t told about the rule when Charlestown accepted his papers.
From Ennis's website. What's wrong with this picture? Well, to start,
the kid is all alone in the cab of a piece of construction equipment
at a job site. Hello, DCYF! If it was an adult in this picture,
it would constitute an OSHA violation to be there without a hard hat.

Even though Ennis was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar on June 3 after attaining his law degree at Ohio Northern University, the BOE accepted his claims and allowed him the extra time to give the other towns a chance to validate his signatures.

However, it wasn’t more time that Ennis needed, but more signatures. Most candidates assume that some of their signatures will be invalidated for any of a range of reasons. The most common reason is that the signer didn’t sign the form exactly the way they are registered to vote.

For example, here's Tim Quillen on the job, wearing his hard hat, boots
and carrying his license as an licensed operator
So most candidates collect a significant cushion of signatures to be ready for that eventuality (and also for bragging rights). For example, the Charlestown Democratic candidates turned in 155 signatures each, even though it only takes 50 to qualify. The Charlestown Citizens Alliance slate turned in between 102 and 106 signatures each to qualify.

Councilor Lisa DiBello, running for a third term, cut it close with 68 signatures as did incumbent Chariho School Committee member Craig Louzon with 64 signatures.

No word yet whether Cameron Ennis intends to challenge his failure to qualify by either seeking to get a reversal on invalidated signatures or asking the Board of Elections to grant him another exemption from the rules on the grounds of “close enough.”

UPDATE: Ennis e-mailed me just after 4 PM to say:

After the towns reviewed my signatures, they determined that only 98 were valid. So, it appears that I will not be on the ballot this year. I'm going to appeal it, but the outcome is doubtful. I just want those Providence boys to know they can't bully us swamp yankees. Anyways, you'll be hearing from me in two years. This is home, and we have to fix it. All the best, and enjoy your summer. We earned it.