ACLU to ask court to order ballot changes Effort will challenge listings for primary

January 20, 1992|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON B — WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union will mount a court fight today to force Maryland officials to place Baltimore socialist A. Robert Kaufman and two other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination on Maryland's March 3 primary ballot.

Stuart Comstock-Gay, director of the ACLU of Maryland, said he would ask the Anne Arundel Circuit Court to issue an injunction to prevent the state from printing the primary ballot without the names of Mr. Kaufman and two other candidates: Eugene McCarthy, a former presidential candidate and U.S. senator, and Larry Agran, a former mayor of Irvine, Calif.

Earlier this month, Maryland Secretary of State Winfield M. Kelly Jr. decided not to list the three among the Democratic candidates.

The secretary is given wide discretion to determine which candidates have generated enough media attention to be added to the list.

Assistant Secretary of State Vonzell R. Ward has said that Mr. Kaufman was one of numerous candidates who were denied access to the ballot because of a lack of publicity.

Candidates not placed on the list had the option of reversing the decision by collecting 400 signatures from registered voters in each of the eight Maryland congressional districts by Jan. 9.

The state is scheduled to certify the list of candidates tomorrow, Mr. Comstock-Gay said. Local boards of election then have the authority to print their ballots.

Mr. Kaufman, 61, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1986 and 1988, dismissed the claim that his presidential candidacy has not generated media interest.

"The amount of press I have is impressive; it's almost embarrassing," he said, citing stories about his maiden presidential campaign that have appeared in The Sun, Afro-American, City Paper and Catholic Review as well as several radio and television reports.

Mr. Kaufman initially mounted his campaign primarily as an opponent to presidential candidate and former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke of Louisiana, who had been expected to campaign in Maryland.

The ACLU is fighting to place Mr. Duke's name on the ballot in Florida, Georgia and Rhode Island.

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