Board Upholds Rejection of Tomlins' Signatures, Ending His City Council Bid

Richard Tomlins has just 189 signatures — 11 shy of the 200 required, the Board of Canvassers concluded. Tomlins has vowed to appeal to the state Board of Elections and the Supreme Court.

The Cranston Board of Canvassers voted unanimously today to uphold the , who hoped to run for a citywide City Council seat in the upcoming election.

The signatures were disqualified after the canvassers spotted an irregularity on Tomlins' papers. It turns out that he photocopied a blank signature sheet that included the official certifying time stamp by the canvassing authority. Election laws require copies of sheets be re-stamped and he didn't get the copies properly certified. 

As a result, Tomlins falls 11 signatures short of qualifying for a spot on the ballot in November. Citywide candidates must obtain 200 signatures for ballot placement.

At the hearing, Tomlins said the mistake was an honest error and said he would appeal on constitutional grounds.

"These people signed the form in good faith," Tomlins said, noting that the certification stamp requirement was wedged into the law books in the late 80s and nobody, not even Secretary of State Ralph Mollis could tell him who submitted the legislation and for what reason. "When these people signed, they had no idea their signatures wouldn't count."

Tomlins said he made the copies when he was running around the city trying to get as many signatures as possible. It was a Saturday right before the deadline and "there was no one available," Tomlins said. 

Board member Edward J. Lemoi said maybe the intention of the law was to prevent someone from taking signature sheets from Providence, copying them and submitting them to Cranston, for example.

Board Chairman Joseph A. DeLorenzo Jr. said in light of the fact law reads signature forms need to be timestamped, the board couldn't waive state law and allow the signatures to be counted.

"If it were a rule or something this board put together then we could, but we have no right to waive the state law," DeLorenzo said.

Kimberly Manchester July 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM
I feel badly, but the rules are the rules. Tomlins has run for office before, so he was well aware of them - and of the need to get well over the required number of signatures because there is the chance many of them would be thrown out as un-certifiable. www.asktazi.com
Joe Richer July 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Hmmm...indeed the rules are the rules and I am a supporter of law and order. But there is also a question of intent to break the rules. The reason for that rule is clear - so that sheets with signatures are not copied...this was not the case. The rule was broken but there was no fraud. I don't generally agree with Mr. Tomlins but that's not a reason to use a technicality against him. I don't think there is justice in this ruling.
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