NEWPORT, Ky. — An appeal has been made to reinstate Campbell County Commissioner Brian Painter’s name on the November ballot after a judge ruled he violated election laws while campaigning.
Video shows Painter and his wife putting out election literature for poll workers inside the Campbell County Administration Building during a May 4 training. Painter spoke with some volunteers and left ink pens with his name on them inside the building.
Some of those poll workers took part in early absentee voting later that day, according to an affidavit from Deputy Clerk Rhonda Wright. Kentucky election law says no one can electioneer, or actively campaign, "when in-person absentee voting is being conducted in the building."
Because of that, Judge Charles L. Cunningham Jr. said Painter's win in the May 17 primary must be vacated. David Fischer, the candidate with the second-most votes in the primary would then be on the ballot.
Campbell County Clerk Jim Luersen filed an appeal on June 30. Painter filed his notice of appeal to the Kentucky Court of appeals on July 1.
Steven Megerle, the attorney representing Fischer, said he was surprised to see county officials involved in the appeals process.
“We’re kind of surprised the Board of Elections, and the county clerk is still defending the criminal activity, unlawful conduct of Mr. Painter,” he said.
Per Kentucky election laws, the appeal process has two parts: filing a notice of appeal and filing a bond to suspend the judgment from occurring. Megerle said neither the county clerk, nor Painter, filed the bond.
“Out of the 10 election contests in the last 100 years where the party seeking an appeal didn’t file a bond. 10 for 10, the court of appeals has dismissed the appeals. Saying they don’t have jurisdiction,” he said.
Megerle has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal.
The case will head to a motions panel with the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The appeal process will be expedited due to the approaching November election.
“The motion will go to them," he said. "They’ll promptly issue a ruling on that. The parties despite that have been given 20 days to file their briefs. The appellants or the clerk. Mr. Painter will have 20 days to file a brief. Then we’ll have 20 days to respond."
Megerle believes the process should take about 30 days in total.
Luersen said he is unable to comment on pending litigation. Painter did not respond to a call for comment.