Candidate’s Ballot Appeal Rejected by Virginia’s Highest Court

RICHMOND (CN) – Virginia’s highest court on Wednesday rejected a congressional candidate’s bid to get back on the November ballot, holding that she was attempting to appeal a temporary action by a lower court and not its final decision in her case.

In August, the Virginia Democratic Party challenged the validity of Independent congressional candidate Shaun Brown’s petition signatures, following a report by National Public Radio that several of the purported signatures belonged to dead people or to those who had previously moved out of the district.

Last week, Judge Gregory Rupe, who presides in Virginia’s 13th Judicial Circuit, concluded Brown and her supporters cut every conceivable corner to collect the more than 1,000 signatures she needed to get on the ballot for the upcoming midterm election, and issued a temporary order, removing her from the ballot, but he has not issued a final ruling on the Democrats’ request for declaratory relief.

On Monday, Brown filed an expedited appeal and asked that Rupe’s order be stayed in the meantime.

In an opinion released late Wednesday night The Supreme Court of Virginia denied the appeal on procedural grounds, holding that the case simply was not ripe for appeal at this time.

“The circuit court’s determination that [the Democratic Party of Virginia] is entitled to a writ of mandamus does not cure this lack of finality because the circuit court’s decision regarding mandamus is not ‘a final adjudication of a collateral matter that addresses separate and severable interests” from the declaratory judgment action,’” court wrote, noting Brown can still appeal the order if and when it is made final.

In a statement sent to Courthouse News, Brown said “when the facts come out and I am completely exonerated then the question becomes what are the motives of my Democratic and Republican opponents and are they trying to manipulate this election.”

She said she has not decided whether she will file another appeal once the lower court decision is finalized.

The deadline to print names on ballots in Virginia is September 23. Voters go to the polls November 6.

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