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Frederickson files write-in paperwork

Chris Frederickson, one of two candidates for mayor of Rhinelander removed from the ballot earlier this year due to nomination paperwork errors, filed paperwork Tuesday to run as a write-in candidate.

Frederickson will face alderperson Alex Young, who is the only candidate actually on the ballot, and Scott Counter, another potential write-in candidate, for the right to replace Dick Johns who will end his more than 50-year career in city politics this spring.

If all three men had become certified candidates, they would have faced off in Tuesday's primary to narrow the field to two in advance of the April 3 election.

However, just before the statutory deadline, Young filed challenges to both candidates' paperwork claiming the signature sheets were certified prior to the signatures being collected which is contrary to state law.

When city clerk Val Foley checked the paperwork on Jan. 11, she found that in Frederickson's case, 56 of the 75 signatures were affected by the mistake, and they were not counted. This left Frederickson below the minimum of 50 valid signatures to be included on the ballot.

Frederickson appealed Foley's decision to the Wisconsin Election Commission on Jan. 16, stating that the response he filed with Foley on Jan. 8 contained the needed affidavits to correct the errors.

The deadline to file those affidavits was also Jan. 5 at 5 p.m.

On Feb. 12, the commission released a decision upholding Foley's ruling on Young's challenge.

"The City Clerk is afforded discretion when determining if a candidate's name is eligible for placement on the ballot," the commission said in an eight-page decision. "The City Clerk 'may refuse to place the candidate's name on the ballot' if the candidate's nomination papers are not prepared, signed or executed as required; under Ch. 8 of the statutes. The City Clerk did not abuse her discretion in reaching the decision that Mr. Frederickson's nomination papers were insufficient when filed and not corrected in a timely manner through an affidavit. The City Clerk's challenge decision contained sufficient legal support, and the Commission will not overturn that decision."

While Frederickson could have challenged the decision in circuit court, he chose to file the paperwork to run as a registered write-in candidate, along with amended campaign finance paperwork, instead.

Foley confirmed Tuesday afternoon that those two filings mean that people who wish to vote for Frederickson in the April 3 spring election can do so and their votes will be counter.

Counter has not filed registered write-in paperwork, but he has until the Friday before the election to do so.

Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at jamie@rivernewsonline.com.


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