A request to throw out petitions by nine Republicans who want to runagainst members appointed to the charter board has been dismissed bythe county commissioners.

The commissioners, disagreeing with a Jan. 8 letter from a Finksburg resident who argued the petitions violated state law, said they refuse to invalidate the petitions.

"A large number of citizens of Carroll County would be effectively disenfranchised were we to invalidate the petitions," the commissioners wrote in response.

The Board of Election Supervisors discussed the county's response to the challenge during its regular monthly meeting yesterday.

The Republican slate of candidates -- called Citizens for an Elected Charter Board -- organized because members were displeased with the commissioners' November appointments to the board, which is charged with the task of drafting a proposed charter for Carroll.

Of the 2,615 signatures of registered voters the slate collected, about 1,800 were verified, well over the 3 percent required.

The commissioners determined that the petition, filed in late December, was valid, and directed the election board to arrange to put all the slate candidates and the appointed members on the ballot for the March 3 primary.

The top nine vote-getters would win seats on the commission and resume drafting a proposed charter.

In a letter written by his attorney, Frank Rammes

charged that the petitions violated state law because:

* They didn't include statements showingthe slate candidates' contributions and expenditures.

* They contained more than one nominee.

* One nominee subsequently withdrew her name.

"(The) statutes that have been violated leave the commissioners no discretion to do anything other than invalidate the petitions," the letter states.

In their response, the county commissioners said the state attorney general advised the election board that therequirement for financial statements does not apply. The advisory also said "slate" candidates can be nominated by petition.

The commissioners said the withdrawal of one candidate was not sufficient reason to throw out the petitions.

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