ANNAPOLIS -- A technicality in Maryland law could help Gov. William Donald Schaefer in his effort to get Ross Perot off the ballot in November.
The law requires that a presidential candidate be listed on the ballot with his or her running mate.
Mr. Perot must notify the state elections board of his choice of a running mate by Aug. 25, said Jack Schwartz, chief counsel for opinions in the attorney general's office.
"If he doesn't notify us, then his name will not appear on the ballot," Mr. Schwartz said.
Mr. Perot, who had been an undeclared candidate for president until last week, said he plans to keep his name on the ballot to give him and his supporters "leverage" with the major parties.
A spokesman with the Perot campaign in Dallas said the Texas billionaire plans to comply with all legal requirements in order to get on the ballot in the 50 states.
If a letter is required in Maryland, then "that letter will be forthcoming," Rose Roberts-Cannaday, the petition committee's phone bank director, said yesterday.
Governor Schaefer wrote Mr. Perot this week asking him to formally remove his name from the ballot "in the best interest of the voters of Maryland."
"I think he had absolutely no right to do that," said Peggy Wigle, executive manager for the Patriot Party of Montgomery County, formerly the Montgomery County Perot Committee.
"People of this state put Mr. Perot's name on the ballot. We spoke. That was our wish," she said. "Had the people not wanted him on the ballot, they would not have signed the petitions."
The state elections board has verified enough signatures on petitions for Mr. Perot's name to appear Nov. 3 if he meets the running-mate requirement.
In addition, Mr. Perot has until Nov. 2 to provide Maryland with the names of 10 electors who would represent him in the Electoral College in December if he were to win Maryland, Mr. Schwartz said.
Mr. Perot early on chose Adm. James Stockdale for the No. 2 spot on his ticket. Admiral Stockdale has said that he has no interest in serving as vice president but that he allowed Mr. Perot to use his name to get on the ballot in various states.