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Peters wins case against Johns, will run unopposed

ST. LOUIS – Rep. Joshua Peters won his lawsuit Thursday night against Rachel Johns, his challenger for the  76th District seat. He will now run unopposed.

Peters had alleged that because Johns had not registered to vote until Feb. 4, 2015 and as such was not qualified to run for office because Article III, Section 4 states a candidate must have been eligible for two years. Johns argued she did not register to vote as a form of protest, thus making it a protected form of free speech. She also stated that not being able to vote for herself would be a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Rep. Josh Peters
Rep. Josh Peters

Judge Julian Bush of the Circuit Court of St. Louis rejected Johns’ counter argument.

“Making sure the candidate nominated or elected by the voters is eligible to serve is a legitimate and powerful interest, and it far outweighs the minimal burden placed on voters such as Ms. Johns,” he said in his judgement.

Peters’ attorney Matt Vianello noted that the judgment was not just a win for Peters, but for the electoral process.

“My client is happy with the Court’s decision because he respects the law and feels everyone should have to live by the same rules, not just the rules they want to follow,” Vianello said.

Johns can appeal the ruling, but Vianello will seek a temporary restraining order prohibiting her from campaigning or doing “anything that could mislead voters by creating the appearance that Ms. Johns is a qualified candidate.”

Johns submitted an appeal on April 28.