June 29, 2012

GOP desperate for ballot signatures, as are Greens

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At a Ritchie Highway car wash, Republicans push petition drive on congressional redistricting.

At a Ritchie Highway car wash in May, Republicans pushed petition drive on congressional redistricting.

Republicans hoping to overturn Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional districts are sounding desperate to collect enough by the deadline at midnight Saturday.

They say they need to collect 7,000 signatures to be on the safe side to put the redistricting map on the ballot with a total of 55,736 valid signings.

Here’s what Del. Neil Parrott, founder of MdPetitions.com, told supporters in an e-mail Friday morning.

“The next two days are the most important days to the protection of our freedoms and our representation in Maryland. If there was ever a time to DO SOMETHING, NOW is that time!

“As of yesterday’s mail, we have 21,440 signatures additional signatures for the congressional redistricting petition. We need to have at least 35,000 signatures to turn in to the Board of Elections on Saturday before midnight [June 30].

“A large mailing to several counties has gone out, and we are expecting to get 3,000 signatures from the mail in the next two days.  We are also expecting approximately 3,000 signatures from events in Anne Arundel County and Harford County, but that is not going to be enough. I know people have petitions, but have not turned them in and we should get another 500 signatures from that source. Even including these, we need 7,000 more signatures!!”

Republican Party Chair Alex Mooney followed up with an urgent e-mail to the 300 members of the state central committee.

“ONLY YOU at this point can make this effort succeed, and too many people have been sitting on the sidelines on this referendum effort,” Mooney told them.

Mooney and Parrott want to overturn the redrawn districts that puts Republican Roscoe Bartlett’s seat in jeopardy. But Parrott admits it was much easier to collect signatures against same-sex marriage or against tuition for illegal immigrants.

People have been collecting signatures at most Republican events, but many party activists have already signed.

Green Party banner for national convention here.

Getting people to sign a petition is not easy. Two people were collecting signatures at the East Columbia library Thursday afternoon, but it turned out that they were collecting signatures – yet again – to get the Green Party back on the ballot in November. A lot of their signatures had been tossed out, they lost a court suit, so they have until Aug. 6 to collect 10,000 signatures.

One of those collecting signatures was Ellicott City resident Beth Hufnagel, who ran for comptroller in 2002 as a Green. She got 3,635 votes (.2%); William Donald Schaefer won with 1,125,279 (68%). The Greens wish the odds were better, but they’d at least like to be treated fairly. About one in four registered voters they approached agreed to sign the petition.

As a journalist, I never sign petitions for anything – except for party access petitions. Greens, Libertarians, Constitution, I sign them all if asked. (Communists and fascists don’t try; they run closeted in the major parties.)

For major party members, Democrat or Republican, Maryland has some of the easiest access rules in the nation. Any idiot with $50 can file for state Senate or House of Delegates, for $100 for the House of Representative, for $290 governor or U.S. Senate.

In many states, not only are much higher fees required, but candidates for many offices must collect signatures too. This keeps most kooks off the ballot. Here only the minor parties must collect signatures. Just another aspect of incumbent party rule.

BTW, the Green Party of the United States will hold its national convention in Baltimore July 12-15.  Massachusetts physician Jill Stein seems to have the nomination locked up, but Roseanne Barr – yes, the TV celebrity – told USA Today that she still in the running. If nominated, Stein will get a second shot at Mitt Romney. She ran for Massachusetts governor against him when he won in 2002, getting 1,095,000 to Stein’s 76,000.

In honor of the bicentennial, maybe we can get Roseanne to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

–Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com