Court of Appeals Upholds Frederick County’s Charter Drafting Process

A June 26 Frederick News Post article discusses the recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision upholding the ability of Frederick County to reject several hundred petition signatures because they did not meet State requirements.  The Court’s decision in Ellis C. Burruss v. Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County means that a petition drive to hold a special election to let voters decide who should draft the County’s first charter has failed.  Instead, the current charter draft that was created by a group of individuals appointed by the County Board of Commissioners will remain valid.  The charter will be submitted to County voters for approval this November.

County Attorney John Mathias said he was pleased with the court’s ruling.

“They fully supported everything we argued,” he said.  …

The ruling could squelch grassroots petition efforts and leave only large, well-funded operations able to navigate all the rules for collecting signatures, argued John L. Thompson Jr., the attorney for the petitioners.

“At some point, the requirements become so onerous, you can’t comply with them,” said Thompson, a former county commissioner.

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