This time, taxpayers fought back. The state elections chief validated the signatures on July 7.
Maryland DREAM Act
Welcoming and supporting illegals is not just a priority for Democrats in the U.S. Congress, who are pushing a resurrected DREAM Act for illegal aliens who party officials hope will cast Democrat ballots.
Apparently, its become a priority for leftists in the states as well. Thus, in the waning hours of the last session of Marylands General Assembly, the DREAM Act passed the House of Delegates 74-65.
The bill would provide in-state tuition to border jumpers as long as they they can prove they attended high school for three years in the state and their parents paid taxes for three years before the students graduated. After meeting the requirements, illegals can attend a community college, and after completing 60 credits, transfer to a four-year school.
An organization called the Maryland Industrial Areas Foundation also supported the bill, the Washington Post reported.
We believe that investing in our children is critical for a successful Maryland, and we trust that once Marylanders do the math, they will understand the fiscal and moral import to ensure the MD Dream law prevails, the left-leaning group said.
Governor OMalley and his Democrat friends dont understand one important thing, averred Robert O.C. Worcester, president emeritus of Maryland Business For Responsible Government. The beginning is, illegal. In many ways the discussion begins and ends there, he told the Baltimore Business Journal. Either we have the rule of law and abide by it throughout our society, or we have something a good deal less than that.
Referendum Effort Prevails
The state Board of Elections counted 63,118 valid signatures from organizers, which will put the referendum up for a vote and suspend the freebies for illegals. Only 55,736, or 3 percent of those who voted in the states last election, were required. Organizers turned in more 130,000. The board must certify the total by July 22.
The successful petition drive suspended the bill. Linda H. Lamone, the State Admininstrator of Election, delivered the news succinctly: The matter will appear on the ballot. That will occur in November 2012 if the bill survives the inevitable legal challenge.
Organizers used the Internet to gather signatures, creating the website mdpetitions.com. Conservatives owe part of their success to a first-of-its kind online tool used to connect with like-minded opponents and to avoid the clerical errors that routinely doom signature-gathering drives in Maryland, the Washington Post reported.
Signatures can be rejected if they do not match voter rolls, so the tool printed a Maryland voters name and information exactly as it is listed in registration records. A petition signer only needed to sign his name as printed and mail it to the petition campaign.
The success of the Internet petition appears poised to have a profound effect beyond the referendum at hand.
This issue of illegal immigration tapped into a zeitgeist. With the economy, it was ripe to be the first referendum to succeed in 20 years, said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Marys College. But the way it was done, this will have a major impact, too. Maryland Republicans can now use this as an alternative means to have influence ... and as a result, same-sex marriage is likely dead in the General Assembly for the near future.
A bill to legalize same-sex marriage died in the House in April. But a same-sex marriage bill passed in New York last month, and proponents have said they would use that momentum to make the issue a major part of the legislative session in Maryland when the assembly reconvenes in January. But Eberly and others said that may be less likely if the issue appears destined for a referendum, where many same-sex marriage efforts around the country have failed.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans who opposed the measure are ecstatic. Del. Neil Parrott of Washington County led the effort to get the signature. This is a great victory for the voters of Maryland and in particular those volunteers across the state that have worked diligently over the past months to allow voters of Maryland to vote on this in November of 2012, he told the Washington Post. He also noted that the liberal leadership of the General Assembly rammed [the Maryland DREAM Act] through.
This is the biggest petition victory in the history of the state ... and the driving force was the passion and outrage of the people of Maryland, Del. Patrick McDonough told the Post. Politicians in Annapolis tried to make this about something it wasnt. McDonough represents Baltimore County, where the council joined county commissioners in Frederick and Carroll Counties to issue statements supporting the referendum drive.
Democrats, it appears, overplayed their hand. Del. McDonough thinks Marylands giveaway to illegals will go down at the polls in November 2012, the Post reported: McDonough said that more than 50 percent of those who signed the petitions were registered Democrats.
He said the issue would become part of the 2012 election dialogue and that he was sure it would help Republicans in Maryland and elsewhere.
President Obama has said passing a national DREAM Act is one of his priorities, and when he is in Maryland, he will have to campaign for it. From the success we had in gathering signatures, I expect a big success at the polls, and that will give Obama a bloody nose. And if it fails in Maryland, that will give Gov. OMalley, one of his biggest supporters, a bloody nose, too.
ACLU Jumps In
Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the referendum and says using on online petition device opens the process up to fraud. In June, the Maryland ACLU petitioned the state elections board to examine the procedures referendum organizers used. Said the Maryland ACLUs legal director in a release:
Online systems for signature gathering in support of a petition drive are new to Maryland, and raise serious questions about whether election officials can meaningfully scrutinize the authenticity of signatures, verify each signers intent, and investigate possible acts of fraud. Unfortunately, the ACLU in the past discovered widespread fraud in a different referendum petition drive, so we know from experience how important it is for the states laws to be strictly followed.
The ACLU release said the petition website could be highly susceptible to fraud.
Any user who knows the name, zip code, and birth date of an individual can easily generate a petition for that person, forge the individuals signature, and fraudulently verify the petition on the individuals behalf. Because the system automatically pre-prints complete information for every registered voter at a particular location, any computer user could also enter his or her own information and sign for other residents at the users address without these individuals knowledge or consent.
Despite the complaint, elections boss Lamone validated the signatures. Problem is, the ACLU in Utah is making the opposite case. The Utah leftists sued the state because it passed a bill banning online petitions.
The Red Maryland blog concluded, ACLU supports online petitions if it serves their agenda.