7 from election board told to move to city Employees may lose jobs for alleged violation

March 05, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore City Election Board employees who are scheduled to be tried today 3/5 on charges of false voting may lose their jobs for allegedly violating a law requiring board employees to live in the city, board President Marvin Cheatham said yesterday.

Marvin Mr. Cheatham , president of the city election board, said yesterday that the board has told the employees they have until the end of 1996 to move back into the city or resign.

State law prohibits election employees from living outside the jurisdiction where they work.

Seven employees have been charged by the state special prosecutor with false voting -- casting their ballots voting in the city when they allegedly live elsewhere. Six of them are scheduled for trial today in District Court; the seventh will be tried later.

They include Christopher Jackson, the son of city election administrator Barbara Jackson, and Samuel McAfee, who is in charge of the election board's warehouse.

Mr. McAfee declined refused to comment yesterday, and Mr. Jackson did not return a reporter's call.

Mr. Cheatham said the elections board is sympathetic to the employees because board members think the residency requirement is unfair, because no other state employees are required to live where they work.

He said board members recently testified in favor of a bill pending in the House of Delegates that would end the residency requirement. "Why should the board of elections be singled out?" Mr. Cheatham said.

He said he did not want the employees to lose their jobs, noting that the seven are "tenured people" whose loss would hurt the operation of the election office.

The misdemeanor charges against the seven employees grew from an investigation by Maryland State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli into alleged voting irregularities in the 1994 gubernatorial election raised by Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey. The false voting charges are the only charges to come out of the investigation.

The employees, if convicted, could face five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Republican Ellen R. Mrs. Sauerbrey, who lost a close election to Gov. Parris N. Glendening, filed a lawsuit alleging numerous problems in the city. The state prosecutor's office did not find cause to prosecute, but issued a report last summer saying that the city election in the city was beset with "error, poor judgment, negligence, outright incompetence, [and] problems in procedures."

Pub Date: 3/05/96

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