by Ron Gregory
MADISON — At least two additional candidates have been removed from the November 8 general election ballot as a result of this week’s Supreme Court ruling in the Erik Wells case.
Boone County Clerk Gary Williams sent a letter to Chester Mitchell, informing him that he cannot appear on the Boone ballot as a candidate for Circuit Clerk. Williams said he found Mitchell was attempting to run as an Independent when he is registered to vote with a major party.
In the Wells decision, the Supreme Court voided what had been a practice approved by the Secretary of State’s office to petition one’s way onto the ballot.
In previous years, those wishing to run as an Independent or with no party affiliation simply had to gather one percent of signatures from the number who voted in the previous election and pay the required filing fee. The Court ruled that is not proper and anyone registered with one of the recognized parties (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and Mountain) cannot file as an Independent.
Williams told Mitchell, in his letter, that a refund of Mitchell’s $598.75 filing fee “will be forthcoming.” The Clerk reminded Mitchell that he still can run as a write-in candidate if he files proper procedures by September 20.
Mitchell had been slated to meet long-time incumbent Democrat Sue Ann Zickefoose in November. If nobody qualifies as a write-in candidate, she will now run unopposed for another six-year term.
Meanwhile in Mingo County, one previously announced Independent candidate will remain on the ballot and the other is being removed. Clerk Big Jim Hatfield said an opponent for him, Anthony Blevins, is in fact a registered Independent and thus can stay on the fall ballot.
That will set up a showdown between Hatfield and Blevins, since no Republican filed in the primary. Hatfield eked out a win over Yogi Croaff on the Democrat side.
On the other hand, Democrat Roy Tiller, will be removed after filing an Independent candidacy. As with Boone County, Hatfield said he reminded Tiller he can still run as a write-in if he meets all requirements.
Tiller would have been on the ballot with incumbent Democrat Sheriff James Smith and Republican Marty Fortner.