Massachusetts rejects petitions because of the color of the paper

State election officials have rejected all 3000 voter signatures collected by Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jason Lowenthal who is running for Congress against Democratic incumbent Michael Capuano in the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts. This clears the way for Capuano to run unopposed for a seventh term.

Lowenthal had assumed that the 3000 voter signatures he had collected would be more than enough to put his name on the November ballot since only 2000 certified signatures were required. But when he tried to turn in his signatures, town clerks, after consultation with state officials, told him that the signatures were invalid since they were on white forms intended for use by the two recognized major parties - Democrats and Republicans. If he had only used the tan forms intended for use by smaller parties, they said, all the signatures would have been acceptable.

Lowenthal has filed a lawsuit against Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin seeking an order to place his name on the ballot. In the brief to Suffolk Superior Court, Lowenthal claims that election officials misled him regarding the forms to be used, and that rejection of the signatures constitutes a violation of the intent of state election law.

According to Lowenthal's lawsuit, the white signature collection forms were given to him by state officials who said they were the proper ones for him to use. When he pointed out that the forms had fine print that mentioned deadlines for Democratic and Republican primaries, election officials replied that the white forms were required for federal races. In actuality, there are separate tan-colored signature forms are intended for both federal and state level races when the candidate is not a member of the two state-recognized political parties.

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