Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, July 30, 2010


Page 1


Registrar-Recorder Denies Request to Change Ballot Designation


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


The Registrar-Recorder’s Office has denied Beverly Hills attorney Mark Ameli’s request to change his ballot designation to “Superior Court Litigator” in a November runoff election for an open Los Angeles Superior Court seat.

A spokesperson for the office said yesterday the proposed designation was not accepted because it did not meet outlines set forth by the secretary of state for compliance with state election law, but declined to give further details.

Ameli, currently designated “Litigator/Arbitrator/Mediator,” confirmed yesterday that he had received word of the decision. He told the MetNews that he had not yet received a formal letter from the office indicating its reasons for the denial, and he said he was reviewing whether to challenge the decision in court.

His opponent—Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Randy Hammock, who will appear on the ballot as “Superior Court Referee”—said the decision to reject Ameli’s “last-minute request” was “clearly correct under the applicable laws and undisputed facts.”

Hammock, who drew 21.98 percent of the vote in the eight-candidate June 8 primary election to Ameli’s 14.46 percent, had threatened to contest the proposed change in a writ proceeding unless the Registrar-Recorder’s Office disallowed it or Ameli withdrew it.

Elections Code

Elections Code Sec. 13107 permits the ballot to contain “[n]o more than three words designating” the candidate’s “principal professions, vocations, or occupations” at present or within the preceding year. It also bars any designation which “would mislead the voter.”

Hammock Tuesday accused Ameli of trying to “mislead” voters by implying approval by the Superior Court, but Ameli defended the validity of the proposed designation, commenting that “a litigator that litigates in the Superior Court is a ‘Superior Court Litigator.’ ”

He said he has been more active as a litigation attorney than as an arbitrator or mediator during the past year-and-a-half, rendering the new designation more accurate. Ameli also expressed surprise at the Registrar-Recorder’s Office’s decision yesterday, commenting:

 “I’m surprised that they initially told me it was an acceptable designation, and I filed the request based on the statement given to me. Subsequently, their position was changed.”

Opponent Responds

Hammock remarked:

“It would seem to me that a candidate for judicial office, who boldly states on his website that he has the ‘highest commitment to ethical standards and professionalism,’ would be more careful about how he chooses his formal ballot designation. It is time for my opponent to demonstrate such a ‘commitment,’ and to allow this issue to end, once and for all.”

July 27 was the last day for changing a ballot designation under state election law.


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