Green Party ballot effort rejected by Carroll court

Judge says time is issue in reviewing signatures

September 26, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

With days to go before Carroll County's general election ballots must go to print, a judge denied yesterday a last-ditch effort by the Green Party to run a candidate for commissioner.

Carroll Circuit Judge Michael M. Galloway said he sympathized with the Green Party's effort to show that elections officials wrongly tossed out signatures from a petition to place its candidate on the Nov. 5 ballot.

But because the injunction was filed Monday -- and the deadline for submitting ballots for printing is in four days -- he said he did not have time to review the signatures in question.

Green Party attorneys, who are fighting to put George W. Murphy III on the ballot, said they will "almost certainly appeal" Galloway's ruling today.

"We would ask the Court of Appeals for emergency relief, so that the county does not print the ballots without Murphy's name," said Frank M. Dunbaugh, attorney for the Green Party.

Carroll election officials ruled last month that Murphy, a teacher's aide from Sykesville, failed to submit the required number of valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.

He had delivered 1,006 signatures to the board Aug. 8, a few hours before the deadline. The board later validated 822 of those signatures -- 18 short of the 840, or 1 percent of registered voters in Carroll, that Murphy needed.

"This was a genuine petition drive," Murphy said. "All the party is seeking is a fair review."

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