June 27, 2011 at 11:32 am
By Glynis Kazanjian
Responding to a Public Information Act request, the State Board of Elections gave immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland a disk with names, addresses and signatures of people who have signed the petition to bring in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to the ballot in 2012.
The disk granted one of two requests made by the group. The second requested photocopies of the original petition signature forms submitted to the State Board of Elections. State Voter Registration Director Mary Wagner said that request will also be granted, but they are still figuring out how to do it.
Casa submitted its request to the State Board of Elections June 22, the same day the state board certified over 47,000 petition signatures, said state board spokeswoman, Donna Duncan. A copy of Casa’s letter can only be obtained through a Public Information Act request, Duncan said.
Duncan said that same information that Casa just received was also provided to petition backers Del. Michael Smigiel and Del. Neil Parrott.
Reports circulating on the internet by Dream Act opponents suggest taxpayers will have to fund Casa’s request, which could involved photocopying as many as 35,000 pages.
“This is absolutely not the case,” Wagner said. Whoever requests copies of a record—in this case, Casa—must pay for them, she said.
To fulfill the second request, the petition signature pages will be transported by state board staff to a facility that can accommodate the large number of photocopies. Wagner said it was likely a member of Casa would accompany them, but whether Parrott, who requested to also be present to represent the petitioners’ group, would accompany them has not been decided.
“I don’t know. It would depend upon the facilities,” Wagner said.
June 30 marks the final deadline for petition signatures to be submitted to the state board. Local boards of election, who receive the signatures, will have 20 days to validate them. Signatures are due back to the state board by July 20 and the state board has two days to certify them.
To date, 47,288 signatures have been certified by the state, out of 57,505 submitted. If 55,736 certified signatures are collected, the newly passed law will be put on the 2012 general election ballot.