Fairmount Heights Town Council member Arthur Jackson, a candidate for mayor in next month's town election, this week challenged the voting procedures of the town in a suit filed in Prince George's County Circuit Court against Mayor Robert Gray and the town Board of Election Supervisors.
In his suit, Jackson cited several examples of what he said were improper procedures, including the closing of voter registration without the required notice to town residents. A board spokeswoman said yesterday that notification has been mailed to all residents.
An emergency hearing is scheduled for today to determine whether the May 6 election should be postponed and voter registration reopened.
The mayor's office and three of six council seats are up for election next month. There are 412 registed voters in the town of 1,616.
Jackson, 28, an at-large council member, charged that residents were not given proper notice of the March 25 voter registration deadline.
Attached to his suit were nine affidavits from town residents who said they missed the deadline to register because they did not know there was one, and subsequently were not allowed to register.
Town elections judge Cecelia Mishoe said the board sent fliers to every town resident announcing the date of the election and the voter registration deadline.
The dates also were announced at town meetings in Februrary and March, she said. Local newspapers were notified, but one printed an incorrect voter registration deadline, Mishoe said.
David Dawson, Jackson's attorney, said that residents had complained to Jackson that their names were striken without notice from voter registration rolls. In the suit, Jackson contends that this is a violation of state law.
Mishoe said voter registration in the town is permament. She said names are stricken only when residents die, move out of town or commit crimes that make them ineligible to vote.
"A lot of people think that if they are registered in the county they are registered in the town; that is a mistake," Mishoe said.
Jackson also charged in the suit that elections supervisors have violated a state open meetings law by not allowing the public to attend Board of Election Supervisors meetings.
Mishoe acknowledged that the public is not allowed to attend Board of Election Supervisors meetings but said the board gives reports at council meetings, which are open to the public.
Mayor Gray could not be reached for comment.