- Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona candidate for governor does not have enough voter signatures to qualify to appear on the ballot, according to a recently filed lawsuit .

Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett is running against Gov. Doug Ducey for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 28 primary election, The Arizona Republic reported .

A group of Ducey supporters filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that challenges at least 1,316 signatures Bennett collected for a number of reasons, including that they don’t match signatures on voter records or were signed by Democrats or unregistered voters.

“Irrespective of whether the variance is the product of proven forgery or other misconduct, the affected signatures are invalid,” the lawsuit states.

Bennett took to Twitter on Thursday and said he plans to “vigorously defend” the voices of the nearly 8,000 voters who signed.

Arizona primary candidates must collect signatures from registered voters who are members of their party or independents before they can get on the ballot.

Bennett jumped into gubernatorial primary in late April, meaning he had little time to collect signatures before the filing deadline.

Bennett submitted 7,833 signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office. At least 6,223 valid signatures are needed to qualify for Republican primary ballot for governor.

The lawsuit says at least 206 signatures do not match signatures on voter-registration records and an additional 10 signatures look “suspiciously similar,” which suggests they could be signed by someone other than the purported signer.

County elections officials will need to conduct a detailed review of the signatures in question.

If the lawsuit makes it to court, a judge will need to determine which signatures are valid and whether Bennett has enough to stay on the GOP ballot.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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