ELIZABETHTOWN – Despite a preliminary challenge to her petitions, Essex County Clerk candidate Kari Ratliff will be on the ballot as an independent in the November general election.
Ratliff had already been knocked off the Republican Party line against incumbent Joseph Provoncha after Chelsea Merrihew filed specific objections against her primary petitions.
Merrihew is a a title searcher in the County Clerk’s Office, while Ratliff is the Department of Motor Vehicles supervisor in that office.
But Merrihew only filed a general objection to Ratliff’s independent Honesty Party petitions and didn’t follow up with specific objections within the time limit required by law.
The County Board of Elections has confirmed that Ratliff’s petitions will stand and that she will be on the November ballot.
“As is common during the petition process, I filed general objections to Ms. Ratliff’s independent petitions,” Merrihew said in a written statement.
“I did this in order to preserve my right to review them and ensure election laws were adhered to during their collection.
“That being said, we are now looking forward to November and welcome the opportunity to bring Mr. Provoncha’s record of accomplishment and public service directly to the voters of Essex County.”
Merrihew’s objections to Ratliff’s Republican petitions left Ratliff nine signatures shy of the 375 required to run on the party line. Objections were errors like wrong party affiliation or address of people who signed the petitions.
This time, Ratliff said, she filed 879 signatures to run independent, with at least 695 signatures required.
"We were determined to get enough signatures to ensure that a challenge of my petitions would be unsuccessful and that the voters are guaranteed a choice in November,” Ratliff said in a written statement.
"I thank everyone who signed and circulated my petitions. I am humbled by the amount of support I have been receiving."
Provoncha has no other challengers in the election.