The Raleigh City Council candidate disqualified by the Wake County Board of Elections earlier this week sued the county board and the state Board of Elections Friday challenging the action. Jerome Goldberg, who until earlier this week had been running for District D, says in a lawsuit that the residency requirement for candidates violates the state constitution.
The county elections board held a hearing Wednesday after Robert Updegrave of Chaney Road filed a challenge against Goldberg. The board decided that since Goldberg moved to the district on the day he filed for the election and then moved again within the district, he had not established permanent residency on the day he filed.
To further complicate matters, during the hearing Goldberg told the board that his wife still lived at his old address in an unincorporated area of Wake County. Goldberg said in the hearing that he had spent some nights with his wife at the other home. “I think I have a right to visit my wife,” Goldberg said. But he would not be pinned down on how many nights he had spent with his wife outside of the district after questions from board members.
“I spent at least 50 percent of the nights in the district,” Goldberg said while testifying at the hearing.
Goldberg’s lawyer, Jerry Meek with Poyner Spruill, said the residence requirement violates the state constitution. In an interview after the hearing, Meek said that the state constitution says an eligible voter only needs to live in the district for 30 days prior to the election.
State election rules, Meek said, only require candidates to be eligible voters, meaning that a candidate only needs to live in a district for 30 days before the election. The fact that the board requires candidates to live in the district as of the day they filed, more than two months before the election, violates the state’s definition of an eligible voter.
A Wake County Board of Elections representative said the ballots have already been printed and Goldberg’s name is on them.