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Signatures not set in stone

Although petitions to appear in the Republican primary for the state's 20th District congressional seat have already been submitted, a new development has the potential to shake up the field of candidates.

Signatures on the Republican Party petitions of Michael Roque and John Wallace are being challenged by Alexander Sandy Treadwell. Signatures on Roque's Conservative Party petition are also being questioned.

To secure a spot on the Republican primary ballot, 1,250 signatures are required; 412 are needed for a shot at the Conservative nomination. Only residents of the 20th District who are registered with the party in question are allowed to sign the ballots, and if it is found that the names are not on the voter registration lists (at the same address, as well) then the signatures could be thrown out. They could also be tossed due to errors in the signature date or the misspelling of a name.

"Generally, when we receive a specific objection, our staff will review them and make a report, then schedule a hearing," said Bob Brehm, a State Board of Elections spokesman.

A board of four commissioners will make the final decision regarding contested signatures.

Roque, a retired Army officer and former member of Delta Force, said that he respects Treadwell's right to challenge his petitions.

"I personally defend his legal right to do this," said Roque, "but there's not a requirement for him to do this; it's a choice."

Roque stated that he feels if any of his signatures are indeed without merit " if someone signed his petition after signing another candidate's, for example " they should be thrown out, but the fact a signature could be invalidated due to a typo or the fact a voter did not update their address on the voter roll is evidence of the sometimes "arcane" nature of the process.

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