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Eye On Boise

‘Don’t know anybody that dumb’

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rex Rammell is none too happy after being accused – unsuccessfully – of submitting invalid signatures in his bid to qualify for the ballot. “If you’re gonna accuse somebody of fraud and perjury, you better be able to back it up,” Rammell said today. “What U.S. Senate candidate in his right mind would forge signatures on a petition for the U.S. Senate? I mean, I don’t know anybody that would be dumb enough to do that.”

The Idaho Supreme Court last week threw out a lawsuit from 10 individuals and the Idaho Republican Party seeking to remove Rammell from the ballot on two grounds – claims that some of the signatures he turned in were invalid “due to forgery, perjury, misrepresentation of current addresses, miscounts and persons that have moved from their registered residence address and other reasons,” and that he filed as an independent candidate “when he was and is, in fact, affiliated with a political party,” the GOP. The court will issue a detailed, written opinion in the coming weeks, but immediately issued an order rejecting the suit, saying Rammell met all legal requirements to be on the ballot.

Rammell said he collected 1,261 signatures, and county clerks verified 1,007 of them – more than the 1,000 needed to qualify. The Secretary of State’s office noted in court documents that if some of the 1,007 were challenged, the rejected signatures also should be re-examined to see if any were improperly rejected. The office also noted that three eastern Idaho counties had changed residents’ addresses due to a new enhanced 911 system without updating those residents’ voter registration cards; that handwriting analysis comparing petition signatures to voter registration cards in some cases compared petition signatures to cards signed more than 30 years ago; and that one complaint about a voter in Madison County involved mistaken identity with another voter with a similar name.

“Of the 1,261, I collected 600 of ‘em myself,” Rammell said. “My wife collected another hundred, friends and family collected the rest – it was all volunteer work, all good, honest people out beating the street.” Rammell said he collected most of his knocking on doors in Rexburg in March. “I remember how cold it was,” he said. “I went door to door.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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