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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

MDPETITIONS PROVOKES LIBERAL LAWMAKERS IN ANNAPOLIS

 It doesn't make sense.    

   The same people who vehemently reject voter I.D. want to make it harder to sign a petition for referendum. Voting has major lasting results. Petitions just give regular citizens the right to vote on one issue. They claim that there is no fraud in our voting system, yet they see fraud around every corner of a petition drive. There have been many known instances of voter fraud, most recently in the news was  ACORN (http://tinyurl.com/abd736l). No fraud has been reported, much less proven, in the three petitions that made it to referendum in the last election cycle.
   When I go to vote to elect leaders of this country, which will affect the direction this country and how it will proceed for at least four years, I am only asked my name and my address. I am not asked for proof that I am who I say I am  or that I live where I say I live. They are not allowed to ask me for proof! It's apparently against my civil rights!!
   When I go to sign a petition, however, if they get their way in Annapolis, I can not fill out a form for myself with my signature and mail it in because there is no proof of my signature. I can not get a sheet of signatures and sign at the bottom that I saw these people sign their names. I have to sign that I saw each person sign. Do I need to ask them for I.D.? Maybe, the trend is in favor of more not less requirements as they discuss senate bills SB 706 and SB 673. Just a reminder...every signature is checked by the Maryland State Board of Elections. 
Are they afraid or just arrogant...or both? 

   Even though all three bills that were successfully petitioned for referendum were ultimately upheld by the voters, they still feel it is necessary to try to stop any further petitioning. Are they afraid that they may be overturned on future bills? Or are they just arrogant? How dare the average citizen second-guess (get a vote) on anything that they do "in our best interest." I get it that they are elected to represent us. That does not mean that they always get it right. That is why the petition process is allowed by our state constitution. Questioning our government is a basic civil right. Yet they intentionally want to make it so complicated and time consuming that nobody would or could be successful at it. 

Neil Parrott threatened the smug security of a one-party government with MDPetitions.com!

   There had not been a successful petition drive in the state of Maryland for 20 years prior to this last election. It was too difficult. Once you completed the grueling task of collecting the required signatures, so many of them would be  rejected for the most minor detail that it was nearly impossible to collect enough signatures. Twenty years! Then Neil Parrott had the innovative idea to create MDPetitions.com. People could now go on-line, print out a form with the exact data needed (name and address as it appears on your voter registration). All you had to do was sign it correctly as shown. Opponents of the website claim that it could be fraudulent simply by nature of being on the Internet. This is an intentional mischaracterization. You do not electronically sign it on-line. It merely prints out your own data on a form, as it appears on your voter registration, and you sign your name as shown and mail it in. You have to input your date of  birth to ensure that it identifies you correctly. 
   This does not mean that the grueling signature gathering process is no longer needed. I was not able to work the petition drives except for an hour here and there, but I watched my friends work day and night, day after day, sacrificing time with family and recreational time, and even sleep! Most of the signatures are still collected the old fashioned way in the local market, at the carnival, and other public places. Currently you have to collect 55,736 signatures, but you really need to collect twice that amount because 20-30 percent of those signatures will be rejected. Again, just a reminder...every signature is checked by the Maryland State Board of Elections. 
   Delegate Parrott has been attacked in the media and by liberals for supposedly costing the taxpayer money by running these petition drives. I would bet my last dollar that he gives himself 110 percent to his job as delegate. In addition, he gives his time, energy, finances and untold costs as does his wife April and even his children to the petition process. The taxpayer is getting a bargain on Neil Parrott.

Paying signature collectors is only suspect when done by Conservatives.

    One of the anti-petition bills currently being debated questions the practice of paying signature collectors (circulators) by the signature. Again, these same Liberals defended ACORN's right to pay people to register voters in the same manner. This is registering VOTERS not mere PETITIONERS. A U.S. Circuit Court decided in Ficker vs Montgomery County that an organization may pay people to collect petition signatures. They can not, of course, pay people for their signatures. At a recent hearing on SB 673, Paul Jacobs, president of Citizens in Charge, argued for it calling it "productivity pay," further stating that it is the only way to accurately pay for the service. He said that paying someone by the hour could encourage unproductive workers to defraud their employers by claiming that there weren't any available signers. Again, they are paid to collect signatures, not to sign their signature. This is also often common practice for real estate developers who must poll stakeholders in an area of interest. They in fact could profit from the outcome, yet there has been no laws introduced to keep them from paying the pollsters.
   
   They simply want to make it harder for the average citizen.

   And how do they plan to do it...by telling the public through the Liberal media and repetitive sound bites  that the petition process is "too easy." My first reaction is to ask why should it be hard? It is merely the right of the average citizen to vote on a single issue. We know it is not too easy. It is not easy at all. It takes many dedicated people to collect a massive amount of signatures in a short amount of time. These signatures must be checked for accuracy. It takes money, printing materials, and coordination with districts across the state. It is an exhaustive and exhausting process, but it was done successfully, so they need to make it harder. The anti-petition bills are SB 673/HB493 and SB 706/3lr1023. The following is a  brief description of these bills and the new requirements that make it harder for the average citizen to have a voice.

SB 673 The Referendum Integrity Act

   Even the title of this bill is obnoxious, implicating that is is correcting some form of fraud either suspected or proven, neither of which is true in the three successful petition drives that led to the introduction of this bill. The following are changes to the petition process required by this bill:
  • A Ballot Issue Committee must first be established.
  • One Ballot Issue Committee per issue. 
  • A statement notifying signers that the petition form will not serve as a change of address form must be added to the form.
  • Funds collected for the purpose of a petition drive must be treated as campaign finance activity and must file campaign finance reports by certain dates.
  • A statement notifying signers that information provided on a petition is subject to public disclosure must be added to the form. [This has led to harassment of petitioners, even being fired from their job.]
  • The signer must now provide their date of birth on the petition form.
  • On-line requests for a signature page may no longer be "pre-populated" providing your necessary data as it appears on your voter registration. You must type in the information, re-introducing the minor technicalities that can lead to rejection.
  • Name, address, and date of birth must be entered as they appear on your voter registration.
  • A person can no longer sign the petition form for themselves and mail it in. They must be validated by a circulator's signature. 
  • Circulators must take an on-line, state-endorsed training course.
  • Circulators may not be compensated by the number of signatures collected. [Most are volunteers.]
  • Circulators must initial each signature on a petition sheet.


SB 706 Constitutional Amendment 

     This bill is sponsored by Senators Madaleno, Kelley, Montgomery, and Robey and is assigned to the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. 
    This is a constitutional amendment that seeks to increase the number of of signatures required from 3 percent to 5 percent of all qualified voters. This number would include the deceased voters that are still on the registration rolls because the Maryland State Board of Elections and the Attorney General's office refuse to purge the rolls. According to the MDPetitions.com fundraiser letter, it would increase the number of required signatures from 55,736 to 185, 000. This is a significant additional burden to the already labor-intensive process. In order to have enough signatures to make it through the Maryland State Board of Elections validation review, they believe that they would have to collect 200,000 signatures. This would have to be done within the same time constraints as when they were required to collect one third of that amount. This truly is the Anti-Neil Parrott Bill. Had he not succeeded in bringing three bills to referendum, they would not be introducing this extremely prohibitive amendment. 

Please contact your representatives and senators and tell them that you are against these bills:

To donate to MDPetitions, please go to http://mdpetitions.com/donate or mail a check to:

MDPetitions.com
c/o Chairman Neil Parrott
P.O.Box 31
Funkstown, MD 21734




















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