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LAWYER WHO VOTED CORRECTLY STILL ATTACKS BALLOT IN SUIT When Ford Greene cast his vote in a recent Marin County special election, he signed his ballot, as required, before mailing it in. Hundreds of other voters did not, and their ballots were thrown out. Dissatisfied with the outcome � Greene’s side lost by 65 votes � the San Anselmo lawyer paid for county officials to conduct a recount, and discovered the unsigned ballots would have helped defeat a property owners’ fee to fund flood control measures. Greene sued to have the election overturned. But to win his case, Greene might have to convince a judge that the ballots failed to give adequate notice of the signature requirement � even though he noticed and followed the rule. Greene says his argument is perfectly valid. “I’m an attorney. I read the small print,” said the solo practitioner. When 1,648 people, or about 21 percent of the voters, don’t sign their ballots, the problem is res ipsa loquitur, Greene says. It speaks for itself. “If anyone were to buy a product and found out that it failed over a fifth of the time, nobody would buy it,” he said. Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner’s Thomas McInerney, a Marin County resident who’s helping flood victims and environmentalists weigh in on the defense side, thought Greene’s signed ballot was interesting enough to mention in his motion to intervene in the case. Greene’s ballot signature “kind of puts a lie to his argument,” said McInerney, who is doing the work pro bono. The Thelen partner has a personal stake in the case. A major flood in 2005 forced McInerney and his family out of their San Anselmo home, and he wants to make sure the county is better prepared the next time the skies open up. “Next time it rains, it could rest on the head of anyone who sat around and did nothing,” McInerney said. While McInerney views the case, Greene v. Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 073767, as a humanitarian issue, Greene says it’s more about the integrity of the democratic process. On Friday, Marin County Superior Court Judge M. Lynn Duryee heard arguments on discovery in the case. McInerney said she agreed with the county’s position that there was no need for discovery and set another hearing for Oct. 15.

Matthew Hirsch

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