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The Green Party candidate for Sen. Betty Little’s seat is off the ballot.

Steve Ruzbacki sent in photocopies of his petitions, rather than the original documents. State election law requires original signatures.

“I just want to apologize to all my friends and supporters for making that mistake,” Ruzbacki said. “I feel mighty foolish.”

The state Board of Elections ruled the petitions invalid on Wednesday. Ruzbacki sent an email to board spokesman John Conklin on Friday morning, trying to get back on the ballot, to no avail.

“It’s way too late to cure that,” Conklin said. “The ruling was Wednesday and he had three business days to go to court.”

In the email, Ruzbacki said he “inadvertently” sent the photocopies instead of the original petitions.

The decision means there will be no Green Party candidate for the 45th Senate District race. But Ruzbacki could still get on the ballot with an independent party of his own. He plans to gather signatures for the Mountain People’s Party.

He must get 3,000 signatures by Aug. 21 to get back on the ballot, Conklin said.

It will be a “very difficult challenge,” Ruzbacki said, but he said it was essential.

“Without an independent voice, people aren’t going to show up at the polls,” he said. “I think it’s absolutely necessary to have someone there that’s not part of the corporate party mechanism.”

The Board of Elections approved petitions for the following candidates:

Little, with the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines

Emily Martz, with the Democratic line

Mark Schneider, with the Working Families line

Ruzbacki has run against Little before. In 2016, they held a debate in which he argued that marijuana, heroin and other drugs should be made legal. The money spent on enforcement could be used on treatment, he said.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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