A bill changing the state’s petition process could make it harder for voters to bring controversial laws to referendum. The Referendum Integrity Act will be among numerous bills debated in Annapolis Thursday that could fundamentally change state election law.
When Del. Neil Parrott was gathering petition signatures to put congressional redistricting on the ballot so voters could overturn it, he found that all he needed to do was show people the map itself and they were ready to sign on.
That’s the same appalled reaction I found last week when I made a presentation on Question 5 to students and staff at the University of Maryland Baltimore. All they had to do was look at the map, particularly the lines for the 3rd Congressional District, to realize there was something very wrong.
UPDATE: In a short order signed by Chief Judge Robert Bell, the Maryland Court of Appeals on Friday morning affirmed the lower court ruling that allows the congressional redistricting to be challenged on the November ballot. Here is a report on yesterday’s hearing.
Maryland voters in November may face as many as three questions on the ballot to overturn laws passed by the General Assembly. Opponents of the third measure — a gerrymandered congressional district plan — are nearly halfway to reaching the signatures needed with a week left to go.
Republicans are having a tough time getting enough petition signatures on a petition to bring to referendum the congressional redistricting plan passed by the legislature. The map redrew lines to make it possible for Democrats to pick up the 6th Congressional District seat of Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in western Maryland.
Republicans and minority groups upset with new lines drawn for congressional districts are starting a petition drive to put the maps on the ballot in November. Newt Gingrich visits Annapolis. The Senate rejects a study for a third bay bridge.
The petition drive to repeal Maryland’s same-sex marriage law — which will be signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley today — is underway. Duane Keenan filed this podcast talking to organizers of the petition drive, headed up by the Maryland Marriage Alliance and backed by Del. Neil Parrott’s group MDPetitions.com.