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O'Boyle plans on driving to Madison to appeal ballot exclusion

John O'Boyle will drive to Madison next week in hopes of convincing the six-member Wisconsin Government Accountability Board that his name should be on the ballot for the Pierce County judgeship.

If he succeeds, he will join River Falls lawyer Joe Boles and Ellsworth lawyer Robert Loberg on the ballot, triggering a February primary election.

O'Boyle, currently the county's district attorney, overnight mailed his registration forms and completed nomination papers to the Government Accountability Office in Madison Jan. 4. The deadline for filing was 5 p.m. Jan. 5.

The papers officially arrived at the office the morning of Jan. 6, too late to be accepted by the staff.

The elections board, a panel of six judges, meets Jan. 14. O'Boyle hopes to convince members to put his name on the ballot.

"Actually I'm going down on the 13th to make sure I get there on time for the 14th," said O'Boyle ruefully.

He said he had to file with the state board every time he ran for district attorney, and he mailed those papers in every time after his first election.

"I never had an issue with it," he said. "Anytime I express mailed it, I never had a problem with it."

This time, he said, "The issue really is the address."

O'Boyle explained that he wrote the GAB's address with the street number on one line and the post office box number on the next.

Post office workers later told him they don't read addresses from the top down, they read them from the bottom up. Therefore the documents were delivered to the post office box.

O'Boyle said a communication from the Post Office indicated his nomination papers were being sorted in Madison by 7:40 a.m. Jan. 5 and were in the post office box before 11 a.m. But state mail was picked up at 8 a.m.

O'Boyle's papers were delivered to the GAB office the morning of Jan. 6, said GAB spokesman Reid Magney.

Because the papers arrived at the office late, GAB staff can't accept them, Magney said. He suggested that O'Boyle can appeal to the board.

A few days before the filing deadline, O'Boyle dismissed a suggestion that he personally deliver the papers to Madison, thinking that mailing had always worked before.

But, he said, "You live and learn. The next time I'm driving it down no matter what."