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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

Jennifer Martinez Atzberger running as an independent

Way to go Jennifer!

The Court of Appeals has denied candidate Jennifer Martinez’ request to order the Board of Elections to place her name back on the ballot as a candidate in the democratic primary election for Juvenile Court Judge. The Court of Appeals held that despite the fact that it was undisputed that the protest was time-stamped after the deadline there was not clear and convincing evidence that the Board’s decision to hear the protest was a clear disregard of the applicable law. In its opinion the court reasoned that although, “[c]learly, the Board lacks the authority to uphold an untimely protest,” that neither the parties nor the court had been able to identify what the definition of “filing” meant in the context of a filing with the Board of Elections. The Court further held that despite the fact that fifteen out of the nineteen exhibits presented regarding the use of Ms. Martinez’ name contained the name Martinez, or were solely under the name Martinez, that Ms. Martinez had abandoned the sole use of her maiden name upon marriage. The Court failed to comment on the second part of the McLaughlin test which required proof that the use of such name was to gain a political advantage

Ms Martinez and the Committee to Elect Jennifer Martinez for Judge have decided to begin seeking signatures to file as an independent candidate in the same race, running using both her maiden and married name of Jennifer Martinez Atzberger.

Ms. Martinez states that, “As an attorney I have to respect the Court of Appeals decision and the legal process. However, I strongly disagree with the ruling, and I think it should be challenged. All women, regardless of their marital status, should be allowed to run for office using their maiden name; the current rules are archaic and sexist. My primary goal right now though, is to find a way to be part of the election process, and if that means running as an independent candidate under the name Martinez Atzberger, then that is what I intend to do. I am the same person, with the same qualifications, regardless of whether I use one last name or two, and I would like to let the voters of Cuyahoga County decide whether or not I should be a Juvenile Court Judge.”

Ms. Martinez Atzberger and her committee are currently in the process of getting the required signatures for petitions to place her name on the ballot as an independent candidate in the November 2006 election. The required number of signatures is almost 4000 for an independent candidate, compared to the required 50 signatures for primary party candidates. If successful, she will be challenging the Democratic and Republican candidates for the Juvenile Court open seat, term commencing January 3, 2007.

More info here.

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