Williams fails to get on ballot for City Council; Running a write-in campaign as the ‘fifth candidate’

By Brian Wheeler

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On June 9, 2009, Charlottesville City Council candidate

Andrew Williams (I)

learned that he was unable to deliver enough petition signatures to get certified to be on the ballot.  He will now run as a write-in candidate in the November 3, 2009 general election for one of two seats on City Council.

At a press conference held the day after the filing deadline, Williams said, “I was disappointed, but I am not broken, I still plan on running for City Council.”

“I am just a write-in candidate now…I am still happy, still optimistic, I just have to double my efforts,” said Williams.  “A lot of people work hard, so I will work hard for Charlottesville.”

Williams, who

launched his campaign officially on May 13, 2009

, needed 125 signatures from registered voters in Charlottesville.  Officials in the City Voter Registration office told Charlottesville Tomorrow that Williams only submitted 93 valid signatures.  Many of Williams’ petition signatures had to be discarded because the contact information was illegible or because the voters were registered in another locality.  Williams said his campaign anticipated some signatures would not qualify, which was why, he says, he submitted over 140 initially.

According to Rick Sincere, Secretary of the Charlottesville Electoral Board, Williams submitted the bulk of his petitions several weeks ago, but General Registrar Sheri Iachetta was unable to reach Williams to notify him that he was still not yet certified.  “She tried to reach him, but the contact information on file was incorrect,” said Sincere.  “Other candidates made the effort to figure out their status.”  Typically the Registrar makes a courtesy call to the candidates to inform them if and when they have reached 125 signatures, although that is not required by state code.

Sincere said that Williams was a participant in two training sessions for prospective candidates and that he was informed he had the option to request in writing that he be officially notified of his certification status as he approached the June 9, 2009 deadline.  Williams did not submit such a written request.

Williams acknowledged that he faced an uphill battle to win one of the two seats on Charlottesville City Council as a write-in candidate.  “Even though the paperwork doesn’t show it, I am in fact the fifth candidate.”

Facing Williams on the ballot in November will be incumbent Councilor, Dave Norris (D), Kristin Szakos (D), Bob Fenwick (I), and Paul Long (I).

Long, a resident of Venable, joined the race yesterday evening

about the same time Williams was learning he was not going to be certified.