The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that the state does not have to print Rayla Campbell's name on the Republican ballot for the 7th District congressional seat, because she failed to collect even the reduced number of signatures the court had earlier allowed due to Covid-19 issues.
The ruling means Republican voters in what is now US Rep. Ayanna Pressley's district will have no candidates listed on the Sept. 1 ballot. Campbell, a Randolph resident, has said she will run a write-in campaign to defeat both "antifa Ayanna Pressley" and the "anarchists and Soros funded misfits and malcontents" she says are out to get her.
Rachel Miselman of Dorchester, who uses a photo of Dapper O'Neil as her Facebook icon and who insists all lives matter, is also running a write-in campaign for the nomination to face Pressley in the state's only minority-majority congressional district.
In April, the state's highest court cut the number of signatures required to get on the fall ballot in half - and said candidates could collect signatures electronically, rather than on paper, because of the Covid-19 state of emergency declared by Gov. Baker. In the case of congressional candidates, that mean collecting at least 1,000 valid signatures, rather than the usual 2,000.
Elections officials certified that Campbell had collected only 544 signatures, although she claimed she actually had an additional 108 valid signatures that were rejected for lame reasons - including Cambridge signatures mistakenly turned into Boston that were not rejected until it was too late to get them to Cambridge.
In her request to be put on the ballot, Campbell asserted that the court should reduce the minimum even further for her because the 7th district has so many minority and foreign-speaking residents, because it was hit harder by Covid-19 than any other district, making signature collection even harder, and because some of the communities in the district, including Boston, Cambridge and Milton, are split between two congressional districts, making it harder yet to find residents who live in the district - especially Republicans, who already make up such a small percentage of the district's registered voters.
In its ruling, the state's highest court concluded:
None of the difficulties Campbell has identified leads us to believe that additional relief is now warranted. Indeed, some of the difficulties she identifies surely existed in the Seventh Congressional District before the onset of the pandemic and are likely to persist after it is over (e.g., the small percentage of Republican voters, the split-municipalities).
The court did agree with Campbell that the district, which includes Chelsea, at the time, the state's hottest Covid-19 hotspot, and East Boston, which has Boston's highest Covid-19 rate, was hit harder than the rest of the state by the virus. But it continued, not mind-numbingly so to the point of requiring a calculation of a different signature requirement for just the one district:
The truth of that assertion, however, does not affect our conclusion that we should preserve the uniform signature threshold set in Goldstein, and not allow that threshold potentially to differ depending on the particular demographic, economic, political, or geographic circumstances in each district.