Beverly Hills Councilman Loses Bid to Run for State Senate

There will be no Republicans on the ballot to replace Sen. Ted Lieu.

Beverly Hills City Councilman John Mirisch. Patch file photo.
Beverly Hills City Councilman John Mirisch. Patch file photo.

Beverly Hills Councilman John Mirisch's effort to appear on the ballot for a state Senate seat came to an apparent end today when a judge upheld the county's rejection of three signatures on his nominating petition.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled that the signatures did not comply with the rules for nominating petitions, The Beverly Hills Courier reported.

Election law requires each signee to complete his or her signature, printed name and address on petitions. On Mirisch's petition, however, the addresses of three people were hand-printed by a spouse, not the signee.

Attorneys representing Mirisch argued that the sections of the Election Code barring voter assistance in signing nominating petitions are discriminatory against the elderly and conflict with other sections of the code allowing other members of a household to print the voter's name and address on other election materials as long as the voter personally signs the document, according to The Courier.

But Kenny ruled the election code statute must be adhered to strictly, The Courier reported.

It's unclear if Mirisch will appeal, but it's unlikely since Thursday is the deadline for county officials to have a list of candidates and print ballots.

Today's hearing was the latest chapter in the saga of Mirisch's attempt to run for the 26th Senate District seat being vacated by Sen. Ted Lieu, D- Torrance, who is running for the congressional seat of retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Beverly Hills.

Mirisch said he was contacted by Matt Klemin, the external affairs director of the Senate Republican Caucus, on the eve of March 12 deadline to file for the seat because the party was looking for a potential candidate in a field without any Republicans.

Mirisch, who was in Washington for the National League of Cities Congressional Conference, faxed his campaign papers to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk March 12, then sent them by overnight mail and they were received the following day.

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan notified Mirisch that Secretary of State Debra Bowen would not allow Logan to accept Mirisch's faxed candidacy papers, despite Logan's willingness to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Sacramento County.

Both Bowen and Logan routinely accept election documents by fax or uploading, according to the lawsuit.

A judge in Sacramento ruled Friday that Mirisch's name would appear on the June ballot if he received 40 valid signatures on the nominating papers he turned in March 12.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk rejected 12 of the 49 signatures on Mirisch's nominating papers, with five signatures rejected because the home address information was filled out by the signature gatherer, not the signee, The Courier reported.

The hearings in the case are being held in Sacramento because the court there has jurisdiction over election matters, according to the Sacramento-based legal firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP, which is representing Mirisch.

--City News Service

Lorelei Shark March 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM
I find this all quite outrageous. In circulating petitions, I find that some people are older or disabled and cannot easily write, without a great deal of pain. Or their writing is illedgible. All that's important is that they sign with their hand, therefore acknowledging their informaton is accurate. If the court wanted to validate the signitures, they should validate the address, not the hand that wrote it.


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