Republican 7th District Congressional candidate Rayla Campbell has filed suit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to get on the November 3 ballot. Campbell, an African American woman who was born in Boston, raised in Scituate, and currently lives in Randolph, is looking to unseat Democrat Ayanna Pressley in the fall election.

Campbell ran a write-in campaign to secure the Republican nomination in the September 1 primary election. She collected 1,200 write-in votes, but Secretary of State Democrat William Galvin says it wasn't enough to qualify for the general election ballot. Galvin said Campbell would have needed 2,000 votes to secure a spot on the ballot.

The Boston Herald reported Galvin's decision is based on a state statute that says, "Write-in candidates must obtain at least as many votes as the number of signatures required for a candidate to be nominated to the ballot for that seat. For the House of Representatives, that’s 2,000."

But the paper noted that in April, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reduced the number of signatures required to appear on the primary ballot by half due to the difficulty in collecting signatures during the pandemic.

That decision should apply to the general election as well.

Rayla Campbell was a product of the public school system. According to her website, Campbell left school after high school but returned to obtain a DANB Certified Dental Assistant, graduating top of her class as Valedictorian at the Porter and Chester Institute of Canton. She now works as an administrator in the healthcare industry.

Campbell and Pressley are both strong Black women who are polar opposites on the political spectrum. A Campbell/Pressley race would be a historic first in Massachusetts politics and deserves to happen.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court should follow through with the intent and spirit of its April decision and permit Rayla Campbell her rightful spot on the November ballot.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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