A hearing has been scheduled for next week in Russell A. Neverdon Sr.’s appeal of a decision that has left him off the general election ballot as an independent candidate for Baltimore city state’s attorney.
Neverdon filed suit Monday afternoon in Baltimore City Circuit Court, naming both the city and state boards of elections as defendants. A scheduling hearing was held Tuesday morning, and the sides will be back in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Sept. 5 for an evidentiary hearing, Neverdon said Tuesday afternoon.
The city’s Board of Elections earlier this month reported Neverdon’s petition to appear on the ballot contained valid signatures of 3,099 Baltimore residents — well short of the 4,150 signatures necessary.
Neverdon delivered to the board a petition containing nearly 5,700 signatures. His campaign has said it created its own verification system based on voter data provided by the city’s Board of Elections to ensure “the legitimacy of the signatures.”
Neverdon said Tuesday his lawsuit calls into question the Board of Elections’ determination of valid signatures. A woman named “Jane Marie Smith” who signed as “Jane Smith,” for example, was not counted as a valid signature despite having identical addresses and telephone numbers.
“I believe it was tantamount to voter suppression,” Neverdon said.
Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., election director of the city’s Board of Elections, declined to comment on Neverdon’s lawsuit because it is pending.
A call to the state Board of Elections was not returned.
Neverdon, a veteran criminal defense lawyer, is hoping to face Democratic nominee Marilyn J. Mosby in November. Mosby defeated incumbent Gregg L. Bernstein in the June primary. There is no Republican candidate.
Neverdon opted not to run in the primary, saying he wanted to give the voters a choice in November. Should Neverdon lose his appeal, he said Tuesday he is prepared to campaign as a write-in candidate.
“I’m in this race until the very end,” he said. “We are not going to give up our fight for Baltimore city. It’s too important.”
Neverdon is represented in his lawsuit by Edward Smith Jr., a Baltimore solo practitioner. Smith did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The case is Russell A. Neverdon Sr., et al. v. State Board of Elections, et al., 24C14004915.