Voting rights of Howard Co. Board of Education’s student member upheld by Md.’s highest court

An appeal to a lawsuit trying to limit the vote of the student member on the Howard County Board of Education has failed before Maryland’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

On Wednesday, the court upheld the school board did not violate Maryland’s state constitution by granting voting rights to its student board member following a December 2020 lawsuit by a pair of Howard County parents.

Parents Kimberly Ford and Traci Spiegel filed the lawsuit after court documents stated the pair were “disappointed with the [Howard County Board of Education]’s decision to continue with remote learning” following votes in November and December of 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each of three motions during that time failed by a 4-4 stalemate vote, with the student member of the school board causing the stalemate — by voting against a return to classroom learning.

Ford and Spiegel’s lawsuit claimed that Maryland’s constitution was being violated by allowing a high school student to vote on school board decisions because the student, a minor, can’t vote in elections or hold elected office.

While Ford and Spiegel’s lawsuit initially failed in March 2021, it was granted an appeal later that year.

Read the appeals court decision.


Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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