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Year-in-ward Rule For Council Voided

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All Ann Arbor Charter provisión requiring a one-year residency before a person can run for a City Council ward seat has been ruled unconstitutional by U. S. District Court Judge Lawrence Gubow. Judge Gubow handed down his decisión yesterday. Local attorney Arthur E. Cp.rpenter, on behalf of three individuals, had filed the suit in District Court. The charter language which was ruled unconstitutional states, "Except as otherwise provided in this charter, a person is eligible to hold a city office if he has I been a registered elector of the city or a territory annexed to the city or boih, and in the case of a councilman, a I dent of the ward f rom which he is elected for at least one year immediately I preeeding his election or appointment." Judge Gubow ruled that the one-year I residency requirement violated the equal I protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. j City Attorney Jerald Lax said he was I not surpirsed at the decisión, noting three I other similar cases have been decided I in the same way in the past month. j Lax added that there is a case now I pending before the United States I preme Court which is similar in nature I and that the court's ruling on that case woul'l have a bearing here. That case involves Tennessee and a residency requirement for registering to vote. Judge Gubow ruled only on the I year residency requirement, and did not rule unconstitutional the charter language requiring that a person be a registereo voter for at least a year before assuming elective office. Lax said persons seeking elective office will have to have the one year of voter registration, stating that he asked Judge Gubow specifically if his ruling went beyond the residency requirement. The answer was "no." In effect, the judge's ruling means that a person who has been a registered voter of the city for one year could take up residence in a ward on the final day for filing for elective office and still be eligiI ble to run for a council seat that ward. Under the charter language, I he would have had to wait a year. I The lawsuit was filed by Carpenter on I bphaif of Daniel J. Feld, Charlene Parker Stern and Bruce S. Kahn. In October, Feld attempted to take out nominaüng petitions to run for City Council from the Second Ward. However, within the previI ous 12 months he had moved temporarily te the' Fourth Ward and was ruled A ineligible to run for the Second Ward I sest by City Clerk Harold Saunders. 1 Miss Stern and Kahn were involved in j the suit as registered city voters who 1 claimed they would be deprived of tneir ja riehts to vote for the eandidate of their choicfe if Feld was not allowed to enier the election. Mrs Carol Rees, city Democratie Party chairman, said the attorney and partios te the suit were members of her party. ' The newly certified Human Rights Party, although not involved directly in thï suit, released a statement today declaring that yesterday's decisión by Judge Gubow "eliminates one of the long-standing obstacles to full participation in the electoral process by young, black or lower income people." Nancy Wechsler, HRP coördinator, said census figures show that those groups are the most mobile element of the community and are often forced by economie and social circumstances to Change hmising


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