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From: Paul Mendez [Email him]
On June 22nd, the Maryland State Board of Elections announced it had validated 47,288 of the 55,376 signatures needed to put the "Maryland DREAM Act," (SB-167) on the 2012 ballot as a state-wide referendum. [PDF]This is far in excess of the minimum 18,579 that needed to be submitted to keep the petition alive.
Opponents of the bill, which would give illegal aliens residing in Maryland access to in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, now have until June 30 to submit 8,448 more valid signatures. Given their initial success, it is highly likely that the petition organizers will far exceed this number by the deadline.
Of course, things are never this easy in a state where the Governor refers to illegal immigrants as "New Americans" and ethnocentric groups like CASA de Maryland collect millions of dollars in state and local funds to teach illegal aliens how to hinder immigration enforcement. (See the Casa De Maryland KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Pamphlet, about resisting immigration raids.)
CASA de Maryland's lawyers have already declared their intention to challenge the validity of every signature submitted. And the ACLU of Maryland has asked the Board of Elections to "scrutinize" the legality of the online process by which voters could print a pre-filled petition form for manual signing as being susceptible to fraud.
(Interestingly, the ACLU of Utah took the exact opposite position just 3 months ago! In that case, the ACLU sued the state for not accepting ELECTRONIC signatures.)
As they say, it ain't over until the fat lady sings. We won't know the final outcome until July 22, when the final batch of petitions are validated. And then we'll have to see what legal challenges must be overcome. Given Maryland's notoriously liberal judges, anything is possible.
Maryland is one of the bluest of the blue states, and the referendum process is not easy. No statewide referendum has been successfully put on the ballot since 1991, and no statewide referendum has successfully overturned a law passed by the General Assembly since 1974.
Yet this petition appears on its way to victory. It has been reported that 27% of the signers are Democrats, and 12% are Independents.
I can't see how anyone could ask for better proof that vigorous enforcement of immigration laws is a winning issue for any candidate of any party in any race.
Those interested in following the signature validation process on a day-by-day basis can go to the Maryland State Board of Elections website: