Is Vignarajah Eligible? She Finally Filed and Has a Running Mate, So We’re About to Find Out

Krish Vignarajah at Sunday’s Debate (Photo: Ed Kimmel)

Krish Vignarajah filed the papers to run for governor with only hours to spare. The Baltimore Sun reported earlier today that she is running with Sharon Blake, the former president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, in “the first ever all-women of color ticket.” Though now public knowledge, I cannot seem to find any mention – or nice photo of the ticket to put above this post – on Vignarajah’s website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Vignarajah has made a positive impression at gubernatorial debates and forums based on before and after straw polls, as her Twitter feed understandably reports. My own impression is that she is clearly very sharp and got off the best line at Sunday’s debate, but I would like to see evidence of more in-depth knowledge of state public policy.

Nevertheless, Vignarajah may have had trouble attracting a running mate due to serious questions about whether she is qualified for the ballot. The Maryland Constitution requires that gubernatorial candidates have resided and been registered to vote in Maryland for five years.

Vignarajah has a real problem here, as Bethesda Beat first reported:

Vignarajah, 37, an attorney, first registered to vote in Maryland in 2006 at an address in Catonsville. However, she didn’t vote in the state until the 2016 general election. . .

While her Maryland registration remained active, she registered to vote in D.C. on Sept. 14, 2010, then voted in the city’s primary the same day, according to her D.C. voting history, also obtained by Bethesda Beat.

She listed her address at the time at an apartment building at 1701 16th St. NW in the District.

Her D.C. voting record shows that she also voted in the April 26, 2011, special election, as well as the 2012 and 2014 general elections in the city.

Though she was never purged from being registered in Maryland, Viganarajah was registered and voted in the District in 2014. Two years later, she voted in Maryland for the general but skipped the primary.

This issue has plagued Vignarajah’s campaign from the start, punctuated by her disastrous exchange with Tom Sherwood on “The Maryland Politics Hour” (starts at 4:25) in which her only explanation for why she registered and voted in DC if she was a Maryland resident was convenience, and she also refused to say if she paid income taxes in Maryland.

Vignarajah referred to her D.C. apartment as a “crash pad” and said she “did not live there” after Kojo Nnamdi described the building as “the coolest” in the city, raising the obvious question of how she registered to vote in D.C. if she didn’t have a D.C. residence.

Despite asserting that “I am absolutely eligible to run” and that she made legally certain of it before entering the race, Vignarajah filed a lawsuit demanding that the State Board of Elections confirm her eligibility. Attorney General Brian Frosh opposed the suit. Since she had not yet filed, the issue was not really ripe for consideration – courts don’t do hypotheticals – and she then withdrew the suit.

I imagine some potential running mates would be put off by the excellent prospect of being thrown off the ballot with Viganrajah, thus turning a long shot at the number two slot into the latest joke and a very short campaign.

I imagine we will find out shortly.

Note: As we have pointed out previously, Adam Pagnucco and I are both supporters of Rich Madaleno’s campaign. Nevertheless, as is always the case, our posts remain our own.