Cordish could yet prevail on slots referendum
Opponents of a big slots operation at Arundel Mills collected 40,408 signatures to put a referendum on the project on the November ballot. The Board of Elections tossed 17,441 signatures. But the 22,967 that remained are still enough to put the measure on the ballot. However, that's only about 4,000 more than the 19,000 required, reports Nicole Fuller in today's Sun -- a relatively thin margin.
Slots developer David Cordish is challenging 9,406 of the signatures, claiming 4,316 were forged and 1,203 don't match the name with which they're paired. Presumably Cordish's people will also be looking for signers who aren't registered voters or who don't live in the county.
It's hard to tell how rigorous the election board's analysis was, but it's probably fair to say that the board didn't analyze the signatures the way Cordish's lawyers are. State law requires the board to "Review all names and accompanying information on each signature page" and "Determine which signers are registered voters who meet the petition criteria and which are not registered voters or do not meet the petition criteria."
That doesn't exactly sound like Sherlock Holmes looks at the sheets. There's also an option for "random sampling" in which as few as 5 percent of the signatures could be examined. The biggest variable in Cordish's challenge may be the extent to which Ronald A. Silkworth agrees to hear a detailed analysis of the signatures in court.