Del. Joe May (R-33) has redoubled his effort to cast doubt on the validity of opponent Chris Oprison's place on the ballot.
After filing a three-count complaint with the State Board of Elections April 15 alleging that Oprison's campaign manager was not eligible to collect signatures to get Oprison on the ballot, the May campaign has now filed a nine-count complaint with the Loudoun and Clarke counties Commonwealth's Attorneys.
The meat of May's complaint is that Oprison's campaign manager, Andrew Tyrrell, was not a registered voter in the district at the time he collected signatures supporting Oprison's candidacy. Tyrrell, a Florida native, is a student at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville.
Tyrrell has since registered in the 33rd District.
The State Board of Election requires signed petitions in order for a candidate to get on the ballot. Signature gatherers are required to be eligible to vote in the district; while Tyrrell was not yet registered in the 33rd District at the time he collected signatures, Oprison says his campaign manager was eligible because he was, and is, a resident.
The May campaign has also alleged that Oprison turned in his petitions too early and that he had other ineligible voters besides Tyrrell collecting signatures — allegations that Oprison has denied.
Dave Juday, spokesman for the May campaign, said that May filed the complaint with the Commonwealth Attorney's office in addition to the State Board of Elections on the advice of May's counsel, Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Committee.
MEANWHILE, OPRISON says his campaign is carrying on business as usual: drumming up support by knocking on hundreds of doors.
"We have one precinct remaining in Lovettsville to walk," Oprison said. "We hammered on a lot of doors this last weekend and last week."
Oprison, who has called May's charges baseless, said he's only had a few questions from residents about the ballot controversy.
"Their reaction is the same as we've been saying — what's Joe May doing?" Oprison said. "On the facts, we know we're right. Our petitions are rock solid."
Oprison is running on an anti-tax platform and has said that the May campaign is avoiding the issues with its focus on his ballot validity. Juday, however, said that May is preparing a statement on Oprison's tax program to be released later this week.
Even so, Juday holds that the ballot question is as important as the issues.
"Del. May is very serious about this as matter of principle," Juday said. "He thinks election laws exist for a purpose."
It is unlikely that a decision on Oprison's ballot validity will be made by the June 14 primary.