Portland, Maine (CN) – Supporters of a would-be candidate for U.S. Senate are suing to ensure that his votes are counted in Maine’s upcoming Republican primary after being disqualified for bogus signatures.
Fourteen supporters of Max Linn filed for an injunction on June 4, with attorneys from Marcus Clegg, in U.S. District Court to require the state to count votes for Linn, and to stop telling voters that Linn was disqualified.
Linn submitted 2,248 voter signatures in March, well over the 2,000 threshold to appear on the ballot for the June 12 Republican primary to challenge Independent Senator Angus King. Over the next month, state Attorney General Matthew Dunlap disqualified 258 signatures, following a tip from the campaign of Linn’s primary opponent Eric Brakey, that some of the signatures were bogus.
The disqualifications left Linn with only 1,990 signatures – 10 short of the requirement.
While acknowledging that some of the signatures were rightfully disqualified, the lawsuit argues that enough legitimate names were on entire petitions that were tossed, that Linn should have been allowed to remain a candidate.
“‘Guilt by association’ is not an adequate basis upon which to disqualify voter signatures, and thereby deprive the plaintiffs, and many others, of a meaningful vote and an effective say in the electoral process,” said a released statement from Linn’s campaign.
Linn appealed the disqualifications but lost in Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court on April 24. At that point, the state had already begun printing ballots for the primary. Voters will be able to select Linn, but those votes will be counted as blanks, according to a spokesperson from the secretary of state’s office.
Following a tip from the campaign of Linn’s primary opponent Eric Brakey, Dunlap’s office found signatures that were determined to be forged, individuals who were not registered Republicans or were of deceased people. In some cases, entire petition sheets of signatures were disqualified based on how many names were not legitimate.
“Citizens of Maine should feel assured that our judicial system has given sterling service to the public in thoroughly reviewing this case so rapidly, and never losing sight of the importance of citizens engaging in the public discourse in a manner that embraces the mechanisms of democracy with total, accountable integrity,” said Dunlap in a released statement following his court win.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office decline to comment on the suit, as it is pending litigation, but she did say that Linn would not be able to run as a write-in candidate because he would have had to formally announce his write-in candidacy 60 days before the election.
Linn could still declare himself a write-in candidacy for the general election by Sept. 7.