Thursday, August 9, 2012

Independent Congressional Candidate Appeals Decision of Marion County Board of Voter Registation to Exclude Him From Ballot

Contact Person:     Paul K. Ogden, Attorney at Law, 317-297-9720 (office); pogden297@comcast.net

Yesterday, Rev. Mmoja Ajabu filed an appeal of the Marion County Board of Voter Registration's decision to exclude him from the ballot in his bid to win the newly-redrawn 7th Congressional District.

To recap, on March 2, 2012 Rev. Ajabu turned in over 4,700 signatures to the Marion County Board of Voter Registration (MCBVR) for review.  The MCBVR certified 1,300 of those signatures as being signatures of registered voters in the 7th Congressional District.  (A later review revealed an additional 130 or so valid signatures were missed by the MCBVR.)  When Rev. Ajabu submitted a second batch of some 4,421 signatures on June 26, 2012, the Directors of the MCBVR summarily declared that the petitions, consisting of 443 pages, contained no valid signatures whatsoever.  A review of those documents forwarded directly to the Secretary of State's Office from the MCBVR indicate that, unlike the first batch, the second batch of petitions were never reviewed by the MCBVR. 

The Directors of the MCBVR, Democrat LaDonna Freeman and Republican Susan Mowery are direct appointees of Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy and his Republican counterpart, Kyle Walker.  They serve at the pleasure of the county chairmen.

A review of the second batch petitions by Rev. Ajabu reveals they contain 2,418 signatures of registered voters in the 7th Congressional District.  A separate review by Ajabu's counsel, while not yet complete, suggests that the second batch petitions will total over 2,000 valid signatures when the review is completed.  The two batches of petitions contain far more than the 3,010 signatures required to be placed on the ballot as an independent candidate in Congressional District 7.

In speaking on the appeal, Rev. Ajabu stated:  "It is reprehensible that the Board would refuse to do their job in reviewing the petitions for valid signatures. This attempt at voter suppression to keep me off the ballot will not prosper!! I fully expect to succeed in front of the Election Commission."

 Paul K. Ogden, counsel for Rev. Ajabu, added:  "While the Marion County Board of Voter Registration has a history of letting politics intrude upon the purely ministerial job of reviewing whether signatures are of registered voters, the action the Directors have taken in this case cross ethical, and quite possibly, legal lines.  The Directors simply refused to review the signatures on Rev. Ajabu's petition in a transparent attempt to exclude him from the ballot.  I think it is very possible that the MCBVA may have been acting on the instructions of Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy when it refused to review the second batch of petitions which would have revealed Rev. Ajabu easily qualified for the ballot as an independent candidate."

Ogden has served the MCBVR with an open records requests asking for email and other written communications between the Directors (or other MCBVA employees) and the county chairmen who appoint them to their positions.  The request was served two weeks ago and the MCBVA still has not provided the requested documents. 

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1 comment:

Guest said...

Inquiring minds want to know. If I read it correctly he turned in names of people not registered to vote. Now either the Board is not doing its job and checking for legal signatures or he is attempting to get a pass on illegal voters. Which is it?