Judge rules against Mary Norwood’s quest for Fulton chairmanship

It’s another strike against Mary Norwood and her battle to get on the ballot in Fulton County as an independent. Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter has ruled Norwood’s failure to meet a qualifying deadline meant she would not be on the ballot this fall competing for the county chairmanship. The battle may be taking its toll. Norwood said she didn’t know whether she would appeal this decision. Read more of AJC staffer Steve Visser’s report.

16 comments Add your comment

Write in

July 27th, 2010
6:22 pm

She would have a chance as a write in candidate in Nov. That is if enough Fulton County voters can write.

Sophie

July 27th, 2010
6:52 pm

Mary should appeal this ruling. Same grounds as with Texas Supreme Court. It is the will of the people, 33,000 signatures of support for another choice on the ballot, that is at stake. Of course Eaves doesn’t want her on there, she will win. Eaves couldn’t get 33,000 signatures to qualify that is for certain. Simple, Mary and her campaign should have covered this base. Reality, am certain they were focused on getting the signatures and then some, and getting to Tuesday submitting them on time. Any of us might have done the same thing. I have checked on many candidates runing for office…..and they have filed late financial disclosures ( the law for candidacy) if they have filed them at all, in addition many don’t file disclosures during their tenure in office OR pay their taxes (income and real estate). the law is clear on all those issues as well but the Elections Board choses not to uphold those laws as it would disqualify many running for office. What is the difference? Mary – appeal this to a higher court for the will of the people. Set Georgia Law as was done in Texas. What do you have to lose at this point? See it all the way to the end……that is why we support you so much……you aren’t a quitter and are in there for all the right reasons.
thank you for continuing on behalf of all of us. If you get on the ballot…….you will certainly win !!!!!

blue_moon

July 27th, 2010
11:15 pm

“Norwood said she didn’t know whether she would appeal the decision. She acknowledged that she had not checked the deadline filing times for county elections.” Mary Norwood’s ignorance is unbelievable…What makes her qualified to run a county when she seems so obviously unaware of its laws?

Tom

July 28th, 2010
5:44 am

She is a “white conservative woman” and the “Black liberal power base doesn’t want her.” If she was one of their “pets” the liberal would have overlooked the issue. It’s rediculious.

firstborn40

July 28th, 2010
6:38 am

what is ridiculous is that she can’t get it together – this isn’t her first snafu trying to qualify for an elected office since losing the race for mayor… and some of you continue to support her…why because she is a “white conservative woman”…the “black liberal power base” @ tom…isn’t responsible for her lack of knowledge and insight….that is something ‘white conservatives” support…get over it…she isn’t qualified!

Voter Rights

July 28th, 2010
11:57 am

Where are my rights as a voter? I want to be able to have her on the ballot so I can vote for her. If not, then I’ll write her name in, but how many people will know where and how to dothis?

Fulton County System

July 28th, 2010
11:59 am

It’s amazing that Fulton County’s system only wants Lawyers to be able to get elected, or those in one of the given 2-party system.

There was NO information on the FC website on the filing deadline. In fact, it WAS WRONG. How on earth can a non-lawyer who wants to be independent get on the ballot unless they’re in the pockets of Buddy and the rest of the gang?

atlmom

July 28th, 2010
12:22 pm

DO NOT write her name in until and unless she declares herself as a write in candidate!!!! This is VERY easy to do. But who knows if she will do it.
The law says that a vote for a write in candidate will be counted ONLY IF the candidate has actually declared his or her candidacy before the election (I think it’s 60 days) in a publication (in this case, the only one that works would be the AJC).
the vote will be THROWN AWAY if said candidate has not declared his/her candidacy.

Blue moon: the whole process is weighted in favor of the same people keeping power. Do you think they’re doing a good job? Really? They try to keep others off the ballot. If you think they are superior, then by all means, attack someone for making an honest mistake. Great…the rest of us have to live with the incompetence that is our elected officials. They are just trying to keep others off the ballot so they can keep their jobs. They don’t really care about actually doing a good job.

No one mentions the idiocy of a law that doesn’t make sense. Really -10 days before the petitions are due one must file their candidacy? Why? What happens to the filing fee if you can’t get the signatures? How does a candidate KNOW they will be getting the signatures until the deadline? One may have a good idea, but not complete knowledge. It’s set out as another distraction to keep people off the ballot.

The Snark

July 28th, 2010
12:29 pm

Mary Norwood clearly does not have the chops to be in public office.

Steven Howard

July 28th, 2010
4:29 pm

As a Mary Norwood supporter and active collector of signatures, I’m very disappointed. BUT, the rules were clear and the deadline was missed. I’d like to see a ruling in favor of ballot inclusion, but I’m not certain that public desire is a legally sufficient basis for overruling the County’s decision.

Sophie

July 28th, 2010
5:00 pm

The response from Fulton County system is correct. The information was not available for a non partisan candidate if they went to the website to find out about qualifying deadlines. times,e tc. I think she needs to file an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court for an immediate ruling, site the deadline missed case in Texas with Obama and McCain, and that the intent of the law is for an ovrewhelming voter voice for clear access to the ballott for another candidate. That is the intent of the law and Mary Norwood accomplished that monumental task. In fact, this is the first time in the history of the state since that law was put on the books by both parties that anyone has fulfilled the signature requirement and the first time the voters have rallied to the call through their signatures for better representation as Chair of the Board of Commissioners. It is a loud message and one which the courts need to address. Currently there are eleceted and candidates for election that have not fulfilled the disclosure requirements for running for office. The laws are clear on this point as well, yet the courts nor the public respond in a meaningful way to correct the multiple wrongs in enforcing Georgia Election Law.
She needs to go all the way on appeal, set precedient in this state and, if last resort, get all of us together to push for election law reform #1 repeal this law to imprve fair access to the ballot, #2 institure a new law stating that if a candidate OR elected official does not file full and complete disclosure on time by the deadline they are disqualified from running or holding office and #3 that any candidate for office to qualify OR any elected official to maintain holding office must, by law, be paid up in full on all personal and business income taxes and must have all personal and business property taxes paid in full as requirement for running for or holding an elected office. Those laws would go a long way to rid us of incompetent politicans. Anbout half would be booted out by not following all the laws that the rest of us taxpaying idiots have to abide by.

Let Mary on the ballot. Appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court with all the facts of FC website not operable, two of the Elections board officials biased in contributions of $1,000 each to incumbent Eaves campaign and the Tesas ruling on the intent of ballot access and deadines. Thank you mary Norwood for your persistence. You continue to work hard for all the right reasons.

Richard Anderson

July 29th, 2010
11:12 am

All of the Mary Norwood supporters including myself need to take action an we need to write her name in!

rhonda

July 30th, 2010
7:04 am

Everryone should get their facts straight and stop playing the blame game. Mary had people working countless hours in sometimes inclement weather to get signatures then simply missed the deadline. Now she wants special treatment. Contrary to what her supporters want to believe, the deadline information was posted on the Fulton County Election website before the July 2 deadline. When Mary checked the cite after she had missed the deadline, it had been taken down. The deadline is also clearly written in the actual statute. And, the deadline is on the Sec. of State website. The deadline information was readily available to her and her campaign from multiple resources, including the Fulton County website. Missing the deadline show a lack of organization and attention to detail. And, falsly blaming others for her mistake shows both a lack of honesty and lack of courage.

Insinuating the politics played a role in the election board not accepting the late petitions is another instance of playing the blame game. Georgia law dictates that independent candidates “shall file by noon”. The board simply did not have the authority to ignore state law. The board, purposefully and by law, has 5 members, 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans. The Chairperson, by law, is appointed by the Chairman of the FC Commission. When Republicans Karen Handle and Mike Kenn were Chairmen of FC, the Election Board was 3-2 Republican. Now it is 3-2 Democrat. Irrespective of the party makeup of the Board, it appears that all board members can read English. And, the statute says “shall file by noon”…not 4:40PM.

Lastly, everyone is citing the Texas Obama McCain exception as evidence that the election board had some discretion to accept Mary’s late filing. If folks just scratched the surface of that case, they would find that the reason for that exception was that neither the Republican or Democratic conventions had been held prior to the Texas filing deadline. Neither candidate was even sure that he was the party candidate before Texas’ deadline. So, the TX court allowed both on the ballot. There are no such similar circumstances here. Mary simply forgot that there was a deadline and missed it.

Mary could have run as either an Democrat or Republican. However, she chose to run as an independent which in GA is a difficult task. She should stop blaming others and work on changing the law regarding independent candidates. This law was enacted to keep Blacks from running as independents in counties that had large black populations. The law is bad and should be changed. A county election board does not have the authority or the ability to change or thwart Georgia state law.

Sophie

August 2nd, 2010
2:56 pm

Rhonda, we have our facts straight. I am down at FC every day. It wasn’t on the site ! Why “take anything off the site” about qualifying for elected office in FC when there are still qualifying criteria, i.e. write in candidates? It is what it is. Yes, Mary missed a noon deadline, which is contrary to other qualifying deadlines for “local” elections, i.e. end of business day, Friday. Why the inconsistency?. It is correct that this law was put in place ot keep blacks from getting on the ballot…….by white Demos and Repubs….way to go State of Georgia !!! Keep that old Jim Crow law around in the 21st century. The rest of the country laughs at us enough, now expose this little kept secret. Why are you not as forceful with those candidates and elected officials running as incumbents who don’t pay their taxes on time and in full? Why not be in a uproar about all who don’t file full financial disclosures by deadlines to run for office OR stay in office? These are criteria which test the very ethics and honesty of our elected officials. In my opnion these items are far more egregious than not getting downtown to file papers by noon and 4 hours later vs. not filing at all or paying into the black hole money pit that I have to pay to every Fall. The laws are enforced only to benefit those who are in power. We need better representation on theh FC BOC….and Eaves would certainly lose with Mary on the ballot. She will find a way to get on there, and we will do whatever we need to do to ensure her election.

C.L. Lambert

August 3rd, 2010
4:53 pm

I am sick and tired of being disenfranchised by the Atlanta political machine. Over the past thiry years I have tens of thousands in property taxes to Atlanta and Fulton County without anyone to whom I can turn for representation.

rhonda

August 7th, 2010
10:58 am

Sophie,

Your facts are wrong. You can verify this if you want by simply getting a copy of the pleadings and exhibits from the last hearing before Judge Baxter.

The deadline was on the FC Board of Elections website untlil the July 2nd after the deadline had passed. Enough with the FC Board of Elections website. What about fact that the actual statute is on the internet for GA Statutes? What about the SOS’s website? It is no one elses fault that Mary missed the deadline other than hers and here campaign supporters.

Typically, when a person has little substantive support for a position, he/she resorts to the “They were speeding too” argument. Sure there are other instances where candidates and elected officials violate rules. In these situations state law dictates the consequences…just as state law dictates the consequences in Mary’s situation. Citing these infractions only serves to deflect attention from the salient issues in this matter…Mary missed the deadline…and the laws for independent candidates are Draconian.

Lastly, please stop painting Mary as the victim here. She and her team missed the deadline. The victims here are the hundreds of volunteers who labored for countless hours in the heat and rain to collect signatures and the many people who were Fulton County residents who signed her petition. Mary squandered all of this work and effort by her lack of attention to detail. It is not Eaves’ fault or the FC Board of Elections’ fault. It is her’s and her team’s fault, solely.

Speak with your state legislature and have him/her introduce a bill to make it less difficult for independent candidates to get on the ballot. That is what needs to be done.