The Law On Withdrawals From The Ballot; Does Zina Pierre Meet Residency Requirements? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Law On Withdrawals From The Ballot; Does Zina Pierre Meet Residency Requirements?

The following was provided to CP--unsolicited--by an interest city resident and voter who has done this on his own time:

As I read the City election rules, Pierre could "withdraw" up to the primary election. Now, having won the nomination, she can only "decline" the nomination. It's more than a question of correct terminology because there are rules governing how and when a nominee can "decline." Pierre has 10 days after the primary election to decline the nomination. The 2009 Municipal Election Calendar published by the Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections sets 4:30 this Friday afternoon as the deadline for winning primary candidates to decline the nomination .  After that, her name is on the ballot in the general election unless she dies or is disqualified....speaking of which, her Certificate of Candidacy filed with the City is required to show her address and the number of years there as well as her certification that she meets the Charter requirement to have been a registered voter in the city for at least two years immediately preceding the general election. False information ought to lead to disqualification and a perjury charge. If she declines, dies, or is disqualified, the Democratic Central Committee has until Friday, October 2 to replace her. That doesn't leave them much time.

The cynic in me suspects that the above time line is behind the Pierre campaign's decision to wait until Wednesday afternoon to address the "misinformation" surrounding  her candidacy. Waiting that long means there will be less than 48 hours (and probably only one news cycle) for the public and the central committee to digest her side of the story and for public opinion to evolve. The story isn't likely to be any better then than now; whatever "good" information she would share on Wednesday must be known to her now. The delay smacks of political gamesmanship, a further example of Annapolis voters being played for fools.

 See Section 3(b) of Article II in the Annapolis City Charter below:

(b)   The mayor must be a registered voter in the city for at least two (2) years immediately preceding the date of the general election. A person may not hold office as mayor for more than two (2) full consecutive terms to which elected in the manner provided by Article II, Section 5 of this Charter.
The voter also writes that "At least one aspect of the residency issue seems to boil down to this: if Pierre's Annapolis residency qualified her to run for mayor, then it disqualifies her for the homestead tax credit she receives in PG...and vice-verse, of course."

It is not clear at this time as to whether or not Pierre is claiming or has been claiming a homestead tax credit in Prince Georges County, but it is a matter that the Board of Supervisors of Elections, The City Clerk and The City Attorney should be checking to see that she is indeed meeting legal requirement for residency. Candidates such as Josh Cohen, Trudy McFall, Dave Cordle, Chris Fox and others are clearly and widely known to many to have been long-time city residents. With Ms. Pierre it is a bit less clear. Questions have been raised by many for a long time. She deserves the same scrutiny as any other candidate-if not more because she is now the Democratic nominee. Perhaps other reporters or other interested citizens can track this down and help us all understand what this all means.

We all have to wait until Wednesday to hear from Ms. Pierre, but that has been her choice and her doing.

POST SCRIPT-Clarification as of Monday evening Sept 21:  My contact has notified me of the following:

I called MDAT (MD Dep't of Assessments and Taxation)  this morning to ask whether the property Zina Pierre owns in PG County (1915 Woodshade Court) is receiving the state homestead tax credit. (this is the address most frequently cited i n court reports as Pierre's address) I was told that it is receiving the credit.  What does this mean? As far as I can tell, it means it is a person's principal place of residency. THE MDAT web-site says: "A further condition is that the dwelling must be the owner’s principal residence and the owner must have lived in it for at least six months of the year, including July 1 of the year for which the credit is applicable, unless the owner was temporarily unable to do so by reason of illness or need of special care. An owner can receive a credit only on one property---the principal residence."

The MDAT database was down at the time I checked it.  Pierre was also listed in various campaign finance databases from the Huffington Report as having made contributions from that address. Also she has received donations from others now at that address. As late as 12-03-07, less than two years ago, she was listed as living at that address in one of the court cases. That is certainly cause for further investigation to truly determine her residency requirement. Annapolis Politics raised some of these questions over a year ago:

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1 Comment:

Paul A. Richards said...

That Blog is dated July 8, 2008. And it clearly alerted Zina and others of the residency requirement, and suggested, I think, that she was not qualified to run.

Sorry the blogger did not follow up.


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