Montgomery judge denies appeal over signatures
A Montgomery County judge has rejected efforts to revive a pair of referendums that had been rejected because of the way thousands of citizens signed their names.
Montgomery Circuit Court judge Robert A. Greenberg on Friday denied an appeal by a group opposed to a recently passed ambulance fee. Greenberg ordered that their referendum not be placed on the November ballot.
Greenberg noted that Maryland's highest court had ruled that that petition gatherers must follow the letter of state law.
"This court is obliged to follow that command," Greenberg wrote.
Maryland law, as interpreted by the Court of Appeals, says voters must sign their name as it appears on the statewide voter registration list, or they must include the surname from their registration and "at least one full given name and the initials of any other names."
That meant that many voters who signed, for example, without their middle initial had their signatures invalidated.
Eric Bernard, executive director of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association, said he was disappointed, though not surprised, by the decision. He said the group would file an appeal to the high court Monday. "We should know Monday whether the Court of Appeals will accept it," Bernard said.
Greenberg this week threw out a separate suit by Republican council candidate Robin Ficker on a technicality. Ficker had appealed a decision by elections officials to keep his term limits referendum off the ballot over signature issues, but the judge ruled that he filed suit under the wrong name, Ficker said. The judge said it should have been filed under his own name, not that of a group of fellow activists, Ficker said. He's also considering an appeal.
| September 24, 2010; 1:26 PM ET
Tags: montgomery ambulance fee; montogmery petitions; montgomery politics; robin ficker
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