Judge Ernesto Scorsone validates claim and disqualifies candidate Christian Motley for city council

Challenger in 8th Council district stricken from ballot over lack of valid signatures

Posted online September 12, 2018 1:25p

Fayette County Board of Elections has confirmed that Christian Motley’s name will be stricken from the General Election ballot, leaving incumbent Fred Brown unopposed in November unless the decision is reversed on appeal.

Seemingly, the most politically experienced first-time candidate of this election, Motley is a Berea College graduate who served as a presidential appointee in the Office of the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, which took a leadership role in building My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s initiative to expand opportunity for young men of color.

Motley oversaw public policy and advocacy for the Kentucky Education Association as its chief lobbyist in the Kentucky state legislature in Frankfort after working as the deputy executive director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood. Locally he serves on the boards of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Bluegrass and Lexington Transit Authority (LexTran).

Incumbent Councilman Fred Brown filed a lawsuit which claimed that Motley did not submit enough valid signatures when he filed to run.

A hearing was held August 28, 2018 and Judge Ernesto Scorsone ruled only 93 signatures would be qualified, seven less than the 100 needed.

Scorsone’s ruling was decided, in part, based on the testimony of Deputy County Clerk Merriman who deemed several signatures as illegible. Motley was only able to locate and validate two of the voters so nine signatures were deducted from the total along with three who were not registered at the time they signed his petition and several who were proven to reside outside the district.

Anna Whites says she will appeal the ruling on behalf of Motley. “It is our position that he had a valid number, close to 116. Just because the Clerk could not decipher the signatures does not mean the person resides outside the district,” says Whites. “We hope the court will reverse this decision. Christian is a great candidate and the future of Kentucky.”

Another issue were signatures by family members. The court invalidated four family members whose names were signed by Simon Said, who testified that he had verbal authorization to sign on their behalf. Whites takes exception to the fact that an entire minority family was disqualified. “Kentucky law allows for verbal consent to sign a person’s name to purchase a car, they should not have been taken off the petition. Mr. Said’s testimony was unopposed,” Whites says.

According to Election Finance reports, Councilman Brown has not received any campaign contributions during the primary election or so far in the general.

New comer Motley reported more than $20,000 raised during the primary election.


The Key Newsjournal will continue to follow this story.