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Judge rejects Jessica Morse’s ballot designation

By: Aurora Sain, Reporter
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In California, a ballot designation is used as a descriptor so potential voters can have a better idea of who to vote for.

The description must be accurate and not misleading.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steven M. Gevercer rejected congressional candidate Jessica Morse’s 4th-choice ballot designation of “National Security Fellow.”

While acknowledging that Morse has an “interest in National Security,” Gevercer ruled March 28 that she presented “no credible evidence” to use the ballot designation of “National Security Fellow.” Instead, Gevercer held that this title would mislead the average person about her recent activities.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla had previously rejected Morse’s desired ballot designation of “National Security Strategist” and her alternate designations of “National Security Advisor” and “National Security Specialist.”

Morse will now appear with no ballot designation.

The case was brought forward by Regina Bateson, who is running for the same seat as Morse.

In February, Morse won the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

According to the Sacramento Bee, in a January letter to the Tahoe Truckee Democratic Club, Bateson said, “If someone else gets endorsed, I will not continue to run as an ‘unendorsed Democrat,’ because I think that would be counterproductive and jeopardize the end goal of beating McClintock.”

Bateson has continued in the race for California’s Fourth Congressional District.

“We are excited to be one of the many candidates to inform and encourage voters this election,” said Emma Lindsey-Severns, Bateson’s campaign manager.

The legal complaint filed by Bateson argued that “Ms. Morse’s ballot designation and alternative designations are false, misleading, and violate the Elections Code” because Morse “has not worked in the area of national security since at least 2015. Instead, she left government employment in that year to become a self-described ‘starving artist’ and has not held compensated employment since November 2016.”

In her reply, Morse’s legal team sought to justify her proposed title of “National Security Fellow” by providing evidence that she is a political partner of the Truman National Security Project.

In the March 28 hearing, Judge Gevercer identified the Truman National Security Project as a networking agency. Members have to pay yearly dues to participate and it does not meet the standards of a “principal profession, vocation, or occupation” as outlined by California law.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Lindsey-Severns said. “We are glad the voters will be getting accurate information about the candidates appearing on the ballot. In this era of ‘alternative facts,’ truth, honesty, and transparency are more important than ever.”