A Fulton County Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mary Norwood against current Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves after she alleged he was trying to block her from the ballot.
In his short ruling issued July 1, Judge Jerry Baxter stated, “The court finds, at this time, there is no actual controversy … and the ends of justice do not warrant a declaratory judgment.”
Norwood, who is attempting to gather some 23,000 signatures to qualify as an Independent on the ballot to run against Eaves for the Fulton County Commission chair post, filed suit last week after Eaves and his attorneys challenged “several thousand” of the signatures she has obtained.
Mary Norwood’s lawsuit against incumbent Fulton Commission chair dismissed
Eaves contended Norwood was not following proper election law because she was distributing petitions with the word “Fulton” already typed in the space signifying the county where the signer lives. Eaves argued the signers are supposed to, by law, fill that space in themselves.
Norwood, however, said the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections’ Chief Administrative Office and Director approved her preprinted petitions.
In a press release, Norwood said she was disappointed with the ruling but hopes that Fulton County election officials will approve the signatures she has already obtained. She has said 8,000 signatures are at stake.
“While I am disappointed with the judge’s ruling, our campaign is hopeful that when the petitions are filed on July 13th, the Board of Registration and Elections and, if necessary, Judge Baxter, will validate the signatures by the law, their department’s written approvals and common sense,” Norwood said.
Norwood, who ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor last year, is very popular within the gay community in Atlanta. While she lost the mayoral race, she soundly beat Kasim Reed in the heavily gay District 6.
She supports legalizing gay marriage and brings her lesbian stepdaughter to many of her campaign events targeting the LGBT community. Reed did not support gay marriage but instead said he supported civil unions.
Eaves told the Georgia Voice in April that he supports civil unions but has not publicly stated his position on gay marriage.
“I haven’t publicly come out with a stance on that. I am respectful of all rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation,” he said. “Let me back up — I have publicly stated I support civil unions.”