Term Limits Case To Be Decided Soon

Term Limits Case To Be Decided Soon

Judge indicates he's likely to rule signatures validated properly

| Published:

Montgomery County Circuit Court

Douglas Tallman

Absent unforeseen circumstances, a Montgomery County judge is likely to rule that the county Board of Elections properly validated the signatures submitted to place a term-limits charter amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg told participants in the case his likely ruling after hearing testimony Thursday.

But he also gave “No on B”—the group fighting the termlimits proposal—until Monday to supplement its objections to the signatures, said Kevin Karpinski, the Baltimore lawyer representing the county board.

Karpinski had asked the judge to rule in the case in favor of the elections board.

Greenberg said he is likely to rule on the case by Sept. 23, Karpinski said.

Boyds lawyer Robin Ficker has spearheaded the movement to limit the county executive and County Council members to three terms in office. In August, he provided the elections board with more than 17,000 signatures. The board validated 12,573, creating “Question B” for the Nov. 8 ballot.

Former Rockville city councilman Tom Moore formed “No on B” to fight the proposal. He and his lawyer Jonathan Shurberg of Silver Spring have claimed irregularities in the petitions, saying some names were validated even though signatures were missing, some entries have dates entered by the person collecting the signatures, and some are missing all the identifiers the state uses to validate a signature.

Moore filed suit earlier this month, although he has yet to provide the court with a full accounting of the deficiencies in the signatures.

“He has said there are multiple problems but there is not the due diligence required in these cases,” Karpinski told Greenberg.

Ficker, who fought for and won the right to be a defendant in the case Wednesday, arrived nearly two hours after the hearing started. He told Greenberg he needed to leave at 3 p.m. to be at CNN studios in Washington where he was taping “Nancy Grace.”

Under questioning by Shurberg, Ficker said he has fought to have 25 questions placed on Montgomery County ballots, and 20 have made it. He said he likes “engaging in peaceful change.”

He said he often collects names outside grocery stories, and sometimes ran inside to find a person who didn’t properly fill out the petition, leaving out a middle initial or writing a name illegibly.

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