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Fong reacts to appellate court upholding previous ruling in favor of his nomination

Posted at 7:46 PM, Apr 09, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In their ruling — the Third Court of Appeals wrote the issue at hand was the interpretation of the Elections Code regarding political nomination.

  • Video shows 20th Congressional District candidate Vince Fong reacting to an appellate court's ruling, upholding his candidacy.
  • In their ruling — the Third Court of Appeals wrote the issue at hand was the interpretation of the Elections Code regarding political nomination.

The Secretary of State made a number of arguments supporting her interpretation of Elections Code 8003(b) — claiming it should bar Vince Fong from running for Congress during this election. However a court of appeals said none of those persuaded them to change their conclusion.

In their ruling — the Third Court of Appeals wrote the issue at hand was the interpretation of the Elections Code regarding political nomination.

"When the open primary was put in place, it allowed for anyone in our community to run for an open vacancy when it presented itself,” Fong said, following the ruling.

The judges wrote that the state's argument focused solely on one part of the written section — claiming it prohibits any person from filing for more than one office in the same election. They continued writing: “The weakness in the Secretary's interpretation is that it focuses exclusively" on that subdivision and "ignores the remainder” of the section's text.

The judges determined that the section applied to independent nominations and therefore did not apply to Fong. They stated that “Fong is not trying to get on the general election ballot via the independent nomination process, but he is trying to get on the general election ballot by means of the primary election.”

"That was our argument, that's what we presented in our case,” said Fong.

While the court and a previous court ruling favored Fong’s eligibility for congress, both noted that the potential for fallout.

The Secretary of State issued a statement, warning in-part, "this ruling leaves the door open to chaos, gamesmanship, and voter disenfranchisement."

Fong stated that in his case — voter disenfranchisement would have stemmed from removing him from the ballot, given his lead in the polls. However, he agrees there is a need for a clearer nomination policy.

"There is a conflict amongst the elections code. So I have legislation and two other bills are moving through the legislature to address this very issue,” he said.

One of the bills addressing the issue is Assembly Bill 1795 — which if passed — would permit a candidate who has filed a declaration of candidacy for an office at a primary election to withdraw and file another nomination if a filing extension is granted.

This ruling coming just five days before the Secretary of State is set to certify the election results from the March 5 Primary.


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