Mary Norwood sues for Fulton ballot access

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imageMary Norwood, apparently bothered that the public's attention shifted this week to candidates actually on the ballot, filed a lawsuit Thursday to continue her quixotic bid to become the Fulton County Commission chair. The legal challenge, the second of her indie bid for the commission, comes little more than a week after the Fulton County Board of Registration & Elections voted 3-1 to reject Norwood's request to get on the ballot. Norwood missed the state-imposed deadline for filing campaign paperwork and fee on July 2, though she did later file (on time) more than 33,000 signatures to get on the ballot -- well above the roughly 23,000 required by state law. The gay-friendly and same-sex marriage supportive Norwood hasn't offered much of an explanation of why she missed the deadline, though she hinted during a July 13 hearing that a campaign staffer charged with following those sorts of things was recently diagnosed with cancer and that caused Norwood to file her paperwork nearly five hours late. Norwood has continued urging supporters through her campaign Facebook page to donate cash, but has otherwise remained mum on her next steps after the elections board swatted her down. That changed Thursday morning when Norwood announced via a statement on Facebook that she was suing for ballot access.

Mary Norwood, Independent candidate for Fulton County Commission Chair, today filed a request for a declaratory judgment in Fulton County Superior Court to reverse the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections’ decision to ban Norwood, asking the judge to allow Norwood to be on the ballot. In the filing, her lawyers argue that the Board of Registration and Elections had discretion to allow Norwood on the ballot under Georgia law, and should have exercised that discretion based upon the Board’s finding that there was no harm from Norwood’s filing her notice of candidacy later that same filing day. “Well over thirty thousand signatures gathered in 90 days speak volumes about what the people want,” commented Norwood. “Voters clearly want to see more choice on the ballot.” “We believe we will have enough valid signatures to meet Fulton County’s requirements to add my name to the ballot for Fulton County Commission Chair, which is vastly more than was required of my opponents,” added Norwood. “We simply want a fair shot at getting on the ballot. Let the people decide who should run the Commission in November.” Norwood’s volunteer team of database specialists as well as the national petition company Free and Equal, Inc. have analyzed the registered voters who signed the petition forms. Norwood has had one staff member working on validating registered voters since she began the petition campaign. On July 13th, Norwood’s campaign filed more than 33,000 signatures on nearly 3,200 notarized pages with Fulton County’s Department of Registration and Elections in support of Norwood’s independent bid. “Mary’s perseverance and sacrifice to be an Independent candidate is something to be respected. In more than 12 years of work, we’ve collected over one million signatures for candidates all over the country, and we have never seen the sort of support we see behind Mary Norwood to get her on the ballot,” added Christina Tobin, president of Free and Equal, Inc. “With the required 22,598 valid signatures from Fulton County voters, those voters deserve to see this happen in November.”

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