Federal judge: Dobson to stay off ballot

Posted Sept. 16, 2008, at 9:11 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Laurie Dobson’s name will not be on the Nov. 4 ballot as a candidate for U.S. Senate.

U.S District Judge John Woodcock denied the Kennebunkport woman’s motion that in effect would have stopped the printing of ballots already under way so that her name could be added.

Dobson fell 160 signatures short of the 4,000 required to get her name on the ballot as an independent candidate.

“There is no constitutional right to procrastination,” Woodcock wrote in his 22-page order.

Dobson sued the secretary of state earlier this month in federal court.

Dobson said she had submitted her nomination petitions to municipal registrars by May 27 so they could validate the signatures, but that some of those petitions were not returned to her until after June 2. That was the date Dobson was required to submit the nomination petitions with the validated signatures to the secretary of state. She claimed that if the registrars had not returned some of her petitions after June 2, she would have met the 4,000-signature threshold.

The state argued that the harm to the public far outweighed any harm Dobson would suffer by not having her name on the ballot. Adding her name to the ballot also would have doubled the $350,000 cost of printing ballots, the state claimed.

Woodcock agreed.

He also wrote that granting Dobson’s request would have the effect of “stopping the presses and would run the risk of restricting the voting rights of other voters, including overseas members of the military” who need to get absentee ballots in a timely fashion so they can be received by Election Day.

Dobson has not said whether she will launch a write-in campaign or not.

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