ANNAPOLIS – Today, Krish Vignarajah, former policy director to First Lady Michelle Obama, filed a legal action seeking a declaratory judgment from the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County against several defendants, including Governor Larry Hogan’s campaign committee, whose lawyer has publicly challenged Krish’s eligibility to run against the incumbent governor.
Krish’s legal request—accompanied by a sworn affidavit from her and filed under the Maryland Declaratory Judgment Act—asks the Court to issue a binding declaration confirming her right to appear on the ballot and dispelling spurious claims and rumors circulated by her opponents that she is not a registered voter and resident of Maryland.
“Maryland has always been and will always be my home,” said Krish Vignarajah. “As someone with as deep Maryland roots as any of the other candidates, it is disappointing that the governor’s reelection campaign is already resorting to baseless attacks to try to keep me off the ballot. This may be a textbook political tactic, but it won’t work in court. In the meantime, I’ll continue to run a positive, policy-oriented campaign focused on the issues that matter for Maryland families—paid family leave, universal pre-K and STEM education, free technical and community college, clean energy, reducing traffic, and accelerating the innovation and outdoor economy. And I’ll debate those issues with the Governor or any of my other opponents anytime they’re ready.”
The pleading filed in Annapolis today provides a definitive recitation of the law:
“Maryland law makes clear that Vignarajah has been and continuously remained a resident and registered voter of Maryland starting before the requisite five-year time period through the present.”
“No one disputes that Vignarajah, who registered to vote in 2006 and was raised in Maryland from the time she was a baby, was a resident and registered voter in Maryland well before the five-year window. Instead, her opponents’ argument is that her residency and registered voter status were terminated when she worked and voted in Washington, D.C. Their claim is meritless.”
Vignarajah’s opponents claim that during her tenure as a presidential appointee, first with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then First Lady Michelle Obama, her service and apartment in D.C. invalidated her legal status as a registered voter and resident of Maryland. The law of Maryland provides no support for their claims.
“On voter registration, Maryland law specifies a series of conditions, at least one of which must be satisfied before a voter is removed from the state’s voter registry… Neither registering to vote nor voting in another jurisdiction are included among the enumerated removal triggers in Maryland… In fact, Maryland’s removal statute expressly forbids terminating a voter’s registration if one of the statutory circumstances is not present. Thus, removing Vignarajah from Maryland’s voter registration list would actually have violated state law.”
The pleading also addresses the candidate’s temporary status as an inactive voter, noting that Maryland’s highest court has twice conclusively ruled that both “active” and “inactive” voters must be treated as registered voters under the Maryland Constitution. Finally, with respect to Vignarajah’s residency, the pleading sets forth the governing law:
“On residency, Maryland’s highest court has established that when a person like Vignarajah is already a resident of Maryland, she can lose her original residence and gain a new one only if she takes up a new “place of dwelling” and has the intent both to make that abode her permanent residence and to abandon and not return to her original residence. As she has affirmed in a sworn statement, Vignarajah intended no such thing when she worked in Washington, D.C.”
The pleading concludes: “For someone who grew up and went to elementary, middle, and high school in Maryland, whose entire family remains in Maryland, who became a licensed attorney in Maryland, who got married and had her daughter in Maryland, who after every sojourn for school or service has returned to Maryland, and is now raising her family in Maryland, to conclude that Vignarajah ever had the intent to abandon Maryland and make a life elsewhere would be to contrive a political windfall for her opponents that defies the reality of her entire life.”
For more information, visit www.krishformaryland.com.