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Smith withdraws from mayor’s race

by Tom Chillemi

Janet H. Smith said this week she has withdrawn as a candidate for Mayor of Urbanna in the November 6 election.

On October 2 Smith was charged with a felony for filing “false statements” on an election candidate form. The arrest warrant states that on June 12, 2012 Smith made “a false material statement” that “constitutes the crime of election fraud.”

Smith withdrew as a mayor candidate upon advice of her attorney.

On Monday, Smith emphasized that she is not a write-in candidate.

Smith’s name will still be on the ballot and voting machines, said Middlesex Voter Registrar Eileen Howard. Smith’s name will still appear because the voting machines were programmed and paper ballots were printed in September to provide for absentee balloting, said Howard.

Howard noted that the Virginia State Board of Elections will provide signage at the polls on Election Day indicating that Smith is no longer a candidate.

With Smith withdrawn, incumbent Donald Richwine is running for re-election as mayor—unopposed.

A two-page affidavit filed in Middlesex General District Court by Virginia State Police special agent Jennifer S. Brown states, “The law states that a candidate must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for one year preceding the election.” Smith did not meet this one-year requirement, but signed the candidate form indicating that she would have lived in Urbanna for the year preceding the November 6 election.

Smith registered to vote and declared herself a “write-in” mayor candidate in the Lenoir, N.C. election, which occurred on November 8, 2011. She also voted in that election.

The upcoming Urbanna election is November 6, 2012, and is three days shy of being a full year, wrote Smith in a letter to the editor that appears on page A2 of this week’s Sentinel. Part of Smith’s letter states, “I read the rules for filing as a candidate and considered the event like Thanksgiving. The day never changes but the date does, and I believed sincerely I had complied in this and all other ways. It seems I was wrong by three days.”

In her letter, Smith, a former member of the Urbanna Town Council, also asked for “forgiveness” from town residents.

Her first court date is December 19. Smith said she will seek to have the charge dismissed and that no plea agreement has been made.

posted 10.17.2012

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