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Terry Baum (born November 27, 1946) is a playwright who lives in San Francisco. In 2004, she ran for the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Green Party, against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
Baum's political career began in 1970 when she worked as an aide to Bella Abzug during her congressional campaign. She also worked in campaigns for George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Bill Clinton. In San Francisco, she campaigned for Art Agnos, Tom Ammiano and Eileen Hansen, against the Briggs Initiative, and for the use of instant runoff voting.
Baum left the Democratic Party in favor of the Green Party in early 2003. Under California law, because less than a year had passed before she declared her candidacy, her name could not appear on the 2004 primary election ballot. Local Green Party members wrote in either 1651 or 1659 votes, barely enough to qualify her for the November general election ballot. However, a week after the result was certified, the San Francisco Department of Elections reversed itself, claiming that 229 of the ballots had not been correctly filled out and were invalid.
On April 12, Baum and three supporters held a sit-in at the city elections office and were arrested on unspecified charges. On April 19, Baum filed suit to overturn the Department's decision, claiming that the rule in question does not apply to hand counted ballots, that there is precedent for counting ballots where the intent is clear, and that to the extent the rule subverts the intent of voters, it is unconstitutional. The case was heard on July 15, and on July 28 Baum's motion was denied by Judge Ronald E. Quidachay. The state court of appeal and the Supreme Court of California turned down her appeals. She then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the Court ultimately refused to review the case.
Although Baum's name did not appear on the ballot, she received about 6,000 write-in votes, or 2.2% of ballots cast; this was a record percentage for a minor-party write-in candidacy for U.S. House.
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