After a nearly three-hour hearing, Annapolis election officials certified Alderman Ken Kirby in the upcoming city election after he was challenged on his residency and issues found with his campaign finance reports.
The Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections voted unanimously late Friday night to certify the candidacy of Kirby, a Democrat representing Ward 6 in Annapolis.
However, the board said Kirby had erred in the filing of some of his documents, from 2011 and 2012, which were considered incomplete. Kirby will be formally notified of the discrepancies, and be given 30 days to correct the mistakes.
Despite the incomplete filings more than two years ago, Kirby was apparently never notified by the board or the city clerk of the deficiencies, and thus there could be no penalty, such as disqualification from the upcoming election.
“It is not a failure to file under the code if the notice has not been given,” said board attorney Gary Elson.
Board Chairman Michael Parmele said he was now wondering why that notice was never given, but agreed with the legal advice that without notice, there could be no action taken by the board to penalize the candidate.
After the meeting, Kirby said the incomplete papers were an oversight, and were not intended to deceive.
“I never tried to deceive anyone. I know now that everything has to be correct.” he said.
Kirby later added that he thought the challenges to his candidacy were “politically motivated” and have been a distraction for him in his campaign seeking reelection.
One of the primary challengers to the issue was concerned resident Scott Bowling. After the Friday meeting, a few feet away from where Kirby was also speaking with members of the media, Bowling said the election board “had failed” and called for their resignation. Bowling also called upon Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen to fight for a fair election in the city.
“This is his responsibility in order to ensure the people of this city have a fair and free election,” Bowling said. “There is no excuse for an incomplete report to sit there for 2-3 years without review.”
More than 20 people crowded around the small meeting room in City Hall for the proceedings, and over a dozen testified in support of Kirby, including sitting alderwoman Classie Hoyle, Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders Carl Snowden, and a taxi driver.
Most who spoke in favor of Kirby referenced his career as an alderman, and said voters should be the ones to decide who represents them, not the board.
Kirby’s residency was established as being in Ward 6 through a series of legal documents presented by his lawyer, Eric Lipsetts, who called the residency debate “an old and dead issue.”
Lipsetts laid out a series of documents confirming Kirby’s domicile at Crows Nest Court. Part of Lipsetts evidence were photos of Kirby putting a key in the door at his domicile and opening it.