Metro Weekly

Fighting to Keep Equality

Lawsuit filed against Md. County Board of Elections

A group of Montgomery County residents, backed by Equality Maryland, filed a lawsuit March 14 against the County Board of Elections for certifying petitions from a group seeking to overturn an anti-discrimination law that the County Council unanimously passed last year.

According to an Equality Maryland press release, certification of the petitions prevented Bill 2307, which would offer protection for transgender people, from going into effect pending a November 2008 general-election referendum

Citizens for a Responsible Government, which tracks its campaign on its Web site, submitted the signatures. Among those joining the Equality Maryland lawsuit is an ”individual who wishes to have her name removed from the petition because it was misrepresented to her by one of its proponents,” according to Equality Maryland.

Jonathan Shurberg, the attorney hired by Equality Maryland to represent the claimants, said, ”Our initial review of the signatures submitted to the Board of Elections clearly demonstrates that the referendum proponents violated election law in a number of ways, and the Board of Elections did not appropriately conduct the careful review that the law requires.

”As a result, this matter will be brought before the courts in Montgomery County to ask a judge to do what has yet to be done – conduct a thorough and searching review of the petitions submitted to the Board of Elections.”