Judge Rules Against Challenge to Term-Limits Ballot Question
Tom Moore's lawyer says basic facts in case were misunderstood
Robin Ficker drops off a box of signed petitions at the County Executive Office Building in August.
Tom Moore, the former Rockville city councilman who challenged the signatures gathered to put a term-limits referendum on the November ballot, lost his case Wednesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Judge Robert A. Greenberg ruled the charter amendment petition shall be on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“While my client is not surprised at the ultimate conclusion reached by Judge Greenberg, we are very concerned that Judge Greenberg fundamentally misunderstood some of the basic facts of the case, including the number of signatures challenged and the nature of those signatures,” lawyer Jonathan Shurberg, representing Moore, said Wednesday.
He said he would be filing a motion Thursday asking to correct what he called mistakes in the judge’s decision so he could proceed with filing an appeal with the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court.
“While we have no illusions that Judge Greenberg will change his mind, it is important all have an accurate understanding of the basics in the case as to the number of signatures that are being challenged,” Shurberg said.
Attorney Robin Ficker of Boyds had collected more than 17,000 signatures to put the term-limits proposal before Montgomery County voters. If passed, the county executive and members of the County Council would be limited to a maximum of three consecutive four-year terms. The signatures were delivered to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, which certified about 12,500 of them; 10,000 were needed to put the proposal on the ballot.
“This frivolous lawsuit was an effort to thwart almost 18,000 people in Montgomery County who want the voters to decide the issue of term limits on Nov. 8,” Ficker said Wednesday. He said he was certain the measure would pass, which would result in fresh ideas in Montgomery County. “And we can sweep out some of these tax increase specialists.”
Kevin Karpinski, the lawyer representing the Montgomery County Board of Elections, could not be reached for comment.
Moore took the elections board to court to challenge the signatures, claiming some signatures, although marked as verified, were missing from the petitions and some petition pages had information that appeared to be supplied by the people gathering the petitions. Part of his argument was that too much information was provided by people other than the person signing the petition.