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The Daily Record's law news blog

Elections board will face time crunch if they lose appeal of the Oaks ballot order

Plaintiffs seeking to get former state senator Nathaniel Oaks’ name off the June primary ballot scored a victory Thursday when a judge granted their injunctive relief, but the Court of Appeals’ stay of the order until a hearing Wednesday creates an uncomfortably tight timeline for election officials should the voters prevail.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Glenn L. Klavans ordered the Maryland State Board of Elections to remove Oaks from the ballot in a written order Thursday morning, but within 24 hours the board appealed to the state’s highest court and successfully obtained a stay of the order.

Briefs are due early next week to the Court of Appeals and oral argument is scheduled for Wednesday, according to the clerk’s office.

The case is docketed as Linda H. Lamone v. Nancy Lewin, et al., No. 97, September 2017 term.

According to the stay petition, the board began printing ballots already and would have to halt the process and start again unless the injunction was stayed.

The revision of the affected ballots requires having the ballots re-proofed by the local board, re-importing the data into its database and reassigning absentee voters to the new ballots. That process takes five days.

Testing the absentee ballots, which cannot be done until all of the voters have been reassigned, takes approximately two weeks and must be completed by May 12, the statutory deadline for delivery, according to the motion.

At a hearing April 20, the employee who oversees the state’s election management systems said removing Oaks’ name at that point would be challenging but “doable.” It is unclear if that will remain true nearly two weeks later.

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