Time Expires On Woman's Bid To Cancel Judge's Election

November 04, 1990|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff writer

Efforts by a Dayton woman to have a county Circuit Court judge election redecided in Tuesday's general election have failed because time ran out.

Neither the courts nor Erin Gilland-Roby, 33, who filed suit last month, have acted on the complaint. Gilland-Roby asked the court to throw out the results from the Sept. 11 primary election for county Circuit Court judge, but did not file for a quick hearing on her case.

The primary resulted in the election of Circuit Judge James B. Dudley.

She said people who were not affiliated with the Democrat or Republican party were barred from voting in the non-partisan judicial election.

During the primary election, in which Dudley was challenged by private practice lawyer JoAnn Branche, only registered Democrats and Republicans were allowed to vote for the judicial candidates.

Dudley won the contest by a comfortable margin of more than 4,000 votes.

Gilland-Roby, who registered to vote without affiliating with a political party, contends that if the judges' race were open to all voters, "the outcome could have been significantly altered." She wanted primary results nullified and Dudley and Branche to face a rematch in the Nov. 6 general election.

The Attorney General's Office, which is handling the complaint for the state, filed a motion Oct. 24 in Circuit Court asking that Gilland-Roby's request be dismissed.

The motion stated that independent voters have "no protected right to cast their vote in a primary election." It also stated that even if all 313 independent voters who had cast ballots in the primary had cast them for Dudley's opponent, Branche still would not have won.

Gilland-Roby contends that if independent voters were allowed to vote in more races during primary elections, they would probably turn out in greater force.

Barbara W. Feaga, chief clerk of the county's Board of Elections, said there are almost 12,000 voters in the county who belong to alternative parties or have chosen not to affiliate. In general elections, where independents can vote in all races, their turn out is typically as strong as Democrats and Republicans, she said. But Feaga said that even three weeks ago, it was unlikely that the judge's race could be put on Tuesday's ballot because the Board of Elections had started mailing absentee ballots.

By last week, all county ballots were printed, bundled and ready to go out to polling places, she said, making it "just about impossible" to change anything.

As of Friday, the County Clerk's Office had not set a hearing date before a judge for Gilland-Roby's motion. Therefore, if she were successful in having the primary election voided at this point, the options would include scheduling a special election or waiting until the next general election.

In Maryland, judges who are up for re-election must cross-file their candidacy as Republicans and Democrats, even though they cannot declare a party affiliation in a general election.

Their names appear on Republican and Democratic ballots during the primary, but not on the ballots of voters who decline to affiliate or join one of the other smaller political parties in the state.

Because Dudley won both primaries, he was the winner for all practical purposes; only the primary winner's name appears on Tuesday's ballot.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.