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G.A.B. Announces Ballot Access Decisions

January 14, 2010

MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board today made decisions in three ballot access cases affecting candidates in the 2010 Spring Election.

The Board voted to grant ballot access to John M. O’Boyle, a candidate for Pierce County Circuit Court Judge. Board staff had initially recommended that Mr. O’Boyle be denied ballot access because his ballot access documents arrived after the January 5 deadline. Mr. O’Boyle mailed his ballot access documents to the Board by overnight Express Mail on January 4, but they did not arrive at the Board offices until the morning of January 6. Mr. O’Boyle appealed the staff’s decision, arguing that materials had arrived at the Board’s post office box in Madison at 11 a.m. on January 5. After verifying that information, staff changed its recommendation, and the Board concurred, voting to place his name on the ballot. The addition of Mr. Boyle’s name to the ballot will trigger a primary election in that race.

The Board also considered the case of David Gallo of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., who appealed a decision by the clerk of the Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 to deny him ballot access for the Spring school board election because he filed his ballot access documents after the January 5 deadline. Mr. Gallo, a first-time candidate for public office, argued that he relied on materials provided by the school district, which stated the deadline for filing of ballot access documents was “5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, 2010.” The same information and incorrect date was also posted on the school district’s web site. The Board voted unanimously to direct the Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 clerk to place Mr. Gallo’s name on the ballot. The addition of Mr. Gallo’s name to the ballot will trigger a primary election in that race.

Finally, the Board denied an appeal by John Daggett of Oshkosh, Wis., who was denied ballot access by the Winnebago County Clerk after his nominating petitions were challenged for lack of sufficient signatures. Mr. Daggett filed nominating petitions for the office of Winnebago County Supervisor, District #18, with 51 signatures. Subsequently, the signatures of two individuals were challenged because they did not live in the supervisory district, and the Winnebago County Clerk granted the challenge after determining that Mr. Daggett had only 49 valid signatures, one fewer than the 50 required. Mr. Daggett appealed to the Government Accountability Board, arguing that his own signature at the bottom of the nominating petition should be counted toward the requirement of 50 signatures. The Board followed the staff’s recommendation to deny ballot access because signatures cannot be added to nominating petitions after the deadline.