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Judicial Watch • Neil C. Parrott and MDPetitions.com v. John McDonough

Neil C. Parrott and MDPetitions.com v. John McDonough

Neil C. Parrott and MDPetitions.com v. John McDonough

Page 1: Neil C. Parrott and MDPetitions.com v. John McDonough

Category:Election Integrity

Number of Pages:12

Date Created:August 29, 2012

Date Uploaded to the Library:May 08, 2015

Tags:Neil C. Parrott, MDPetitions.com, John McDonough, complaint


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NEIL PARROTT, THE
PO. Box
Funkstown. Maryland 21734, CIRCUIT COURT
and FOR ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
MDPETITIONS.COM, Case No.
PO. Box
Funkstown. Maryland 21734
Plaint
JOHN MCDONOUGH his Icial capacity
Secretary State Maryland
Jeffrey Buildingl6 Francis Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
and
STATE BOARD ELECTIONS
151 West Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
and
LINDA LAMONE, her
official capacity
State Administrator Elections
151 West Street. Suite 200
Annapolis. Maryland 2140]
Defendants.
VERIFIED COMPLAINT
Plaintiffs, and through the undersigned counsel, bring this action challenge the
language the ballot question for the upcoming referendum Senate Bill Chapter the
2011 Special Session the Maryland General Assembly, also known the Congressional
Districting Plan (Senate Bill 1). held November 2012. Speci cally. PlaintiffNeil Parrott les this veri complaint for cial relief and judicial review pursuant Sections
12-202 and 9-209 the Elections Law Article the Maryland Code Annotated. addition,
Plaintiffs Pairott and MDPetitions.com this verified complaint declarative and injunctive
relief under the Maryland Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, Section 3-401 the Courts and
Judicial Proceedings Article the Maryland Code Annotated. grounds therefor. Plaintiffs
allege follo
JURISDICTION AND VENUE The Court hasjurisdiction over this action pursuant Sections 1-501 and 3-406
ofthe Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article the Maryland Code Annotated and Sections
202 and 9-209 the Elections Law Article the Maryland Code Annotated. The Court has personal jurisdicti ver Defendants pursuant Sections 6-102
and 6-103 the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article the Maryland Code Annotated. Venue proper this Court pursuant Section 6-201 the Courts and Judicial
Proceedings Anicle the Maryland Code Annotated and Section 9-209 the Elections Law
Article the Maryland Code Annotated.
PAR IES Plaintiff Neil Parrott citizen and resident the State Maryland and
registered vote the State Maryland. Plaintiff Parrott also member the House
Delegates (District 2B, Washington County) and the Cliainnan MDPetitions.com. entity
that, 2012, organized and sponsored successful campaign petition Senate Bill
referendum. Plaintiff MDPetitions.com entity that. 2012, organized and sponsored
successful campaign petition Senate Bill referendum. the petition sponsor, Plaintiff
MDPetitions.com represents not only its own interests and the interests the organizers and
volunteers who worked make the petition success, but also the interests ofthe 59,201
con rmed registered voters who signed the petition the exercise their rights under Article
XVI, Section the Maryland Constitution. Plaintiff MDPetitions.com therefore has unique
and compelling interest ensuring that voters across the State Maryland are apprised the
true nature the referendum when they cast their ballots the November 2012 election. Defendant John McDonough the Secretary the Secretary State
Maryland and charged law with the duty preparing and certifying the State Board
Elections the language all statewide ballot questions and all questions relating
enactments the General Assembly that are petitioned referenda. Md. Coust., art. XVI,
bl: Md. Code Ann.. Elec. Law 7-103(c)(1). The Secretary also the public official who
prepared and certi the State Board Elections the ballot question challenged Plaintiffs. Defendant State Board Electio (the State Board Electio state
agency that charged law with the duty certifying the content and the arrangement
ballots used general elections, including the language ballot questions petitioned
referenda, well publicly displaying and printing certi ballots. Md. Code Ann.. Elec.
Law 9-207(a). The State Board Elections also the state agency that will certify the
content and arrangement the ballots containing the language the ballot question challenged Plaintiff, well publicly display and print the ballots containing the language the ballot
question challenged. Defendant Linda Lamone the Administrator the State Ill trator
Elections and charged law with the duty employing and supervising the staff ofthe State
Board Elections and performing all duties and exercising all powers assigned law the
State Administrator delegated the State Board ofElections. Md. Code Ann.. Elec. Law
2-] (b).
BACKGROUND October 20. 201 the Maryland General Assembly, sitting special session,
enacted Senate Bill emergency measure and Governor Martin Malley signed into
law later that day. Senate Bill speci cally establishes the districts that will used for the
election Maryland eight representatives the United States House Representatives
following the 2010 census. The legislation describes each district identifying the counties.
election districts, precincts, and/or census designations for the areas that are included each
district.
10. Plaintiff MDPeti ons.com, the sponsor, and Plaintiff Parrott, his capacity
Chainnan Plaintiff MDPetitions.com. subsequently organized and led successful campaign petition Senate Bill referendum the November 2012 general election.
11. July 20. 2012. the Administrator certi that the petition had quali Senate
Bill placed the November 2012 general election ballot.
12. Plaintiff MDPetitions.com subsequently intervened and successfully defended
litigation challenging the Administrator certi cation the referendum petition. August 10,
2012. the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County entered ajudgment the matter captioned
liey, al. ]l1arjvI(1ndSIaIe Board ofEIectim1s, 111., Case No. OZ-C-12-l 1365. declaring
that the petition was legally suf cient refer Senate Bill referendum and ordering that the
enactment placed the November 2012 general election ballot. August 17. 2012, the
Court Appeals Maryland issued per curiam order the matter captioned Wlzz tIL>_v, al.
.1aryIanaS1ate Board ofEIecrian.,. al.. 133 (September Term. 2011). affirming the lower
urts judgment.
13. Because Senate Bill was enacted emergency measure, took effect
immediately. For this same reason, Senate Bill remains force notwithstanding the fact that subject referendum the November 2012 general election. result, Maryland voters
will voting the districts created Senate Bill November 2011.
14. mere sixty words. the short title and purpose paragraph the legislative title Senate Bill succinctly describes the purpose the forty-tn page enactment follows: ACT concerning Congressional Distr ting Plan FOR the purpose
establishing the composition the eight icts the State Maryland for the
election members the United States House Representatives; specifying
certain ward, election district, and precinct boundaries; making this Act
emergency measure; and generally relating the recon guration congressional
districts the State.
15. law, the text enactment subject referendum contains more than 200
words, the Secretary must prepare and certify the language ballot question such form
present the purpose the enactment concisely and intelligently. Md. Const.. art. XVI. 5(b);
Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law 7-103. addition. the language ballot question prepared and
certi the Secretary maybe distinct from the legislative title the enactment, but any
case, the legislative title sufficient. Md. Const.. art. XVI, 5(b). Moreover. the Secretary
must prepare and certify the language ballot question the State Board Elections not
later than the third Monday August. Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law 7-103(c)(1). This year, the
Secretary was required act August 20. 2012.
16. August 20. 2012, business day after the Court ofAppeals Maryland
affirmed the referral Senate Bill referendum. the Secretary prepared and ccrti the
State Board Elections the following language for the ballot question for Senate Bill
Establishes the boundaries for the State eight United States Congr onal
Districts based recent census gures. required the United States
Constitution.
17. Instead ofusing the sixty word short title and purpose paragraph the legislative
title, the language the ballot tion prepared and certi the Secretary mere twenty-
three Words and omits any reference the fact that Senate Bill makes material changes
existing congressional districts that was enacted emergency measure and consequently
had immediate effect, among other substantial omissions.
18. law. the State Board Elections must prepare and certify the content and
arrangement the general election ballot least days before the November 2012 election, September 11, 2012. Md. Code Ann.. Elec. Law 9-207(a)(2)
19. about August 22. 2012. Plaintiff Parrott spoke with representatives both
the Secretary and the State Board Elections. Although the representative for the Secretary
indicated that Plaintiff Parmtt could write letter the Secretary requesting that the language
the ballot question revised, the representative also indicated. that since the date for
certi cation the language the ballot question had passed, the Secretary would not able
revise the language the ballot question already certi ed. The representative the State Board Elections indicated that the State Board Electio could not change the language the
ballot question prepared and certi the Secretary August 20. 2012. Consequently, both
representatives effectively continued Plaintiff Parrott that changes would made the
language the ballot question prepared and certified the Secretary August 20. 2012 and
that the State Board Elections would certify the content and arrangement the general
election ballot before September ll, lsing the language prepared and certit the
Secretary August 20. 2012.
20. According analysis conducted WaSh1r1gIImPas! using data obtained
from the US. Census and the Maryland Department Planning, Senate Bill removed
appro nnately 1.6 million Marylanders from their previous congressional district and placed
them different district. According this same analysis. percent Marylanders the
Sixth Congressional District were removed from their previous congressional district and placed different congressional district, were percent Marylanders the Fourth
Congress ital District. percent ofMary1anders the Eighth Congressional District, and
percent Marylanders the Thir ongressional District. total. percent Marylanders
were removed from their previous congressional district and placed different congressional
district.
21. 1962, fty-four word ballot question was used for referendum
enactment the General Assembly that created new gressional district and made certain
changes two existing congressional districts the State Maryland. The language the
1962 ballot question was: act relating the Congressional Districts the State Maryland which
provides that the State divided into eight districts instead seven and that the
Eighth Congressional District shall composed Howard and Prince George
Counties and making certain changes the Third and Fifth Congressional
Districts this State.
22. contrast, the language the ballot question for Senate Bill makes
reference any changes the boundaries the congressional districts made the enactment.
Nor does contain any readily understandable geographic references the new boundaries
created Senate Bill any reference the map prepared the Governor and approved
the General Assembly depicting these new boundaries.
COUNT JUDICIAL RELIEF
23. Plaintiff Parrott hereby refers and incorporates reference the allegations
contained paragraphs l-22 above fully stated herein.
24. The language the ballot question prepared and certi Secretary
August 20, 2012 does not concisely intelligently present the purpose Senate Bill and
inconsistent with and contrary Maryland law. including but not limited Article XVI, Section
5(b) the Maryland Constitution and Sections 7-l03(b)(4) and 9-703 the Elections Law
Article the Maryland Constitution.
25. the Secretar_ not ordered revise and recertify the language the ballot
question. the outcome the referendum may different. the language the ballot question not posed accurate and non isleading manner. does not provide the clarity and
objectivity required permit average voter exercise intelligent choice meaningful
way, does not present clear. unambiguous and understandable statement the full and
complete nature the issue. and otherwise does not apprise voters the true nature the
legislation upon which they are voting. Plaintiff Parrott has other timely and adequate remedy.
COUNT JUDICIAL REVIEVV
27. Plaintiff Parrott hereby refers and incorporates reference the allegations
contained paragraphs l-6 fully stated herein.
28. The content and arrangement the ballot, which the State Board Elections and
the Administrator are required certif before September 2012 and subsequently
publicly display and print. erroneous insofar contains the unlawful language the ballot
question prepared and certified the Secretary August 20, 2012.
29. Judicial review the content and arrangement the ballot necessary correct
the erroneous ballot.
COUNT III DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
30. Plaintiffs hereby refer and incorporate reference the allegations contained
paragraphs 1-29 lly stated herein.
3]. registered voter and chaimian Plaintiff MDPetitions.com and Plaintiff
MDPetitions.com. the petition sponsor. Plaintiffs have unique and speci interest the
language the ballot question being sufficient ensure that voters across the State Maryland
are apprised the true nature the referendum when they cast their ballots the November
2012 elect
32. Plaintiffs assert that the language the ballot question prepared and certi
the Secretary August 012 does not concisely intelligently present the purpose
Senate Bill and inconsistent with and contrary Maryland law.
33. nnation and belief, Defendants believe the language the ballot question
prepared and certified the Secretary August 20. does not concisely intelligently
present the purpose Senate Bill and inconsistent with and contrary Maryland law.
34. There exists actual controversy justiciable nature between Plaintiffs and
Defendants. within the jurisdiction this Court, involving the rights and liabilities the parties.
35. the language the ballot question prepared and certi the Secretary
August 20. 2012 not declared inconsistent with and contrary Maryland law and the State
Board Elections and the Administrator are not enjoined from certifying. displaying. printing
any ballot containing the language the ballot question certified the Secretary August 20,
2012. voters across the State Maryland will not apprised the true nature the
referendum when they cast their ballots the November 2012 election.
36. declaratory judgment will terminate this controversy.
37. order enjoining the State Board Elections and the dministrator
nee ary prevent them from certifying. displaying. printing any ballot containing the
language the ballot question certified the Secretary August 20, 2012, which does not
cot isely intelligently present the purpose Senate Bill and inconsistent with and
contrary Maryland law,
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court: Order the Secretary prepare and certify the Administrator and the State
Board Elections revised language the ballot question that complies with the requirements
the law; Order that the State Board Elections and the Administrator pro bited from
certifying. displaying, printing any ballot containing the language the ballot question
certi the Secretary August 20, Order the State Board Elections and the Administrator certify. display. and
print revised ballot after the Secretary has prepared and certi revised language the ballot
question that complies with the requirements the lay Declare the language the ballot question prepared and certi the Secretary August 20. 2012 inconsistent with and contrary Maryland law and enjoin the State
Board Elections and the Administrator from certifying, displaying, printing any ballot
containing the language the ballot question certi the Secretary August 20. 2012; and Grant such other relief this Court may deem just and proper.
Dated August 29, 2012 Respectfully Submitted.
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Paul Orfanedes
Md. Bar No. 9112190026
Chris edeli
Md. Bar No. 0012120179
425 Third Street, SW. Ste. 800
Washington. 20024
Tel: (202) 646-5172
Fax: (202) 646-5199
Atturneysfar Plainti
VERIFICAT solemnly affirm under the penalties perjury that the contents the paper are true
the best knowledge, infon-nation, and belief. Executed August 2012
Hagerstown. Maryland.
Neil Parrott Grant such other relief this Court may deem just and proper.
Dated: August 29. 2012 Respectfully Submitted.
IUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Paul edes
Md. Bar 9112190026
.24__
Chris Fedeli
Md. Bar No. 0012120179
425 Third Street. SW, Ste. 800
Washington, 20024
Tel: (202) 646-5172
Fax: (202) 646-5199
Attorneysfor Plaim
VERIFICAT solemnly affirm under the penalties perjury that the contents the paper are true
the best knowledge, information, and belief. Executed Augusta, 2012
Hagerstown, Maryland.