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Former city mayoral contender calls foul and will appeal elections board

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Michael Ryan, Jr. believes that Mayor Dwight Jones has a free pass at the upcoming election.

So he plans to put up a fight and challenge the state's non-appeal process.

"It's very frustrating mainly because you're fighting city hall,” said Ryan, who felt like he had a shot of running for Mayor.

"We're having to work against the system that should be representing us as voters,” said Ryan.

Mayor Jones’ had other contenders trying to get on the ballot;  former president of the Richmond Council of PTAs, Tichi Pinkney Eppes and former Councilwoman L. Shirley Harvey.

Ryan jumped in the race just in time for the filing deadline, but didn't have enough verified registered voters on his petition in second, sixth and ninth districts.

"There were numerous people on there…friends, neighbors, clients who were unquestionably qualified to sign the petition they were registered,” said Ryan.

Richmond's Registrar's office said some of the signatures didn't qualify, but Ryan disagreed.

And now, he's mounting a legal challenge against the State Board of Elections.

According to state law, there's no appeals process after the deadline for the filing of petitions and general registrar certification to the Electoral Board of the names of qualifying candidates.

Another person who filed to run for a school board seat, but was disqualified says she'll fight back too.

"I'm going to mount this write-in campaign and teach people how to spell my name,” said Tichi Pinkney Eppes. She said she fell short of having three registered voters on her petition.

Regardless, she said she is still a staunch advocate for Richmond Public schools.

"I am committed to running for school board.  I am committed to being in that elected position to be able to service these children in this community throughout the city.  By denying me access to that ballot, you're in essence denying me these children,” said Pinkney Eppes.

State Board of Election Secretary, Secretary Don Palmer, in a released statement to CBS 6, said that “Richmond City General Registrar Kirk Showalter and her staff made clear the legal requirements for ballot access to would-be candidates and SBE believes that Ms. Showalter and her staff have done their due diligence in thoroughly reviewing the petitions for individuals filing their paperwork during this past deadline.”

“Richmond City General Registrar Kirk Showalter is correct that the Code of Virginia provides no appeals process after the deadline for the filing of petitions and general registrar certification to the Electoral Board of the names of qualifying candidates,” said Palmer.