Bangor man won’t be on ballot, court rules

By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 11:39 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s highest court has rejected an appeal by a Bangor man fighting to have his name included on next Tuesday’s gubernatorial ballot.

Alex Hammer had appealed a Superior Court ruling upholding Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s decision to keep Hammer off the November ballot because he failed to submit enough certified signatures to qualify as a gubernatorial candidate.

Hammer had attempted unsuccessfully to file electronic copies of the petition signatures to municipal clerks for verification.

In a decision released Thursday, a majority of the justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed that the lower court had “issued a judgment containing a thorough review of Hammer’s contentions, along with a comprehensive and well-reasoned decision.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Donald Alexander agreed with the lower court’s finding but said the Supreme Judicial Court should have dismissed Hammer’s case outright because the plaintiff failed to file his appeal within the statutory window.

In an e-mail statement, Hammer said he planned to take his appeal to the federal courts.

“To date the two court decisions have had a propensity to back up the established government interests without balanced critical review,” Hammer wrote. “As petitioner, our legal arguments and legal precedent evidence provided have been virtually ignored. This is a strong statement but an alarming and easily demonstrable fact.”

Hammer had argued through the courts that Maine statutes do not specifically prohibit electronic copies.

But in her September ruling, Penobscot County Superior Court Judge M. Michaela Murphy said the Legislature always makes clear the instances in which electronic copies of official forms are permissible.

Additionally, Murphy had written in her ruling that the Maine Law Court previously had held that the secretary of state could not unilaterally “usurp the proper function of the Legislature to set election policy.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/10/29/politics/bangor-man-wont-be-on-ballot-court-rules/ printed on December 24, 2014