State's highest court to hear case on judicial elections today

April 02, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Maryland's highest court will hear a challenge today to a section of the state election law that allows only registered Democrats and Republicans to vote in the primary for circuit judge, an office considered nonpartisan.

A ruling against the state could transform Maryland's way of electing circuit judges and let independents, who make up 14 percent of voters statewide, vote in judicial primaries.

The suit was filed in February by an independent voter in St. Mary's County who said he was being wrongfully disenfranchised. The American Civil Liberties Union and Gregory Care, an Anne Arundel County resident, joined the suit.

The St. Mary's resident later dropped out, and a three-judge panel in St. Mary's dismissed the case. Care and the ACLU appealed to the Court of Appeals.

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