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Wannabe Senate Candidate Heads to Court in Bid to Get on the Ballot

Beverly Hills Councilman John Mirisch wants a judge to certify three signatures whose accompanying information was filled out by a spouse. He argues their prior rejection discriminates against the elderly.

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

A hearing was scheduled for today in a Sacramento courtroom in Beverly Hills Councilman John Mirisch's attempt to qualify for the ballot in a bid for the state Senate.

Attorneys representing Mirisch -- who passed the mayor's gavel to Lili Bosse Tuesday in the council's regular rotation -- will ask a judge to certify three signatures on his nominating petition rejected by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk because other petition information was hand-printed by a spouse, not the signee, The Beverly Hills Courier reported.

Election law requires each signee to complete his or her signature, printed name and address on petitions.

The attorneys representing Mirisch will argue 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.

The attorneys will present declarations submitted under the penalty of perjury from the signees in an attempt to bolster Mirisch's case, The Courier reported. The attorneys had submitted the declarations to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to get it to accept the signatures, but were rejected, according to The Courier.

Today's hearing is the latest chapter in the saga of Mirisch's late 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.

That left Mirisch short just three signatures. According to the Courier, Mirisch determined Monday that one of the rejected signatures -- which was tossed because the person appeared to live outside the 26th Senate District -- was actually valid and the signee was a district resident.

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



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