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June 22, 2011

Majority of tuition signatures gathered in the field

* Updated with petition and opposition website and location information below. * 

Newly released data from the State Board of Elections shows that petitioners trying to repeal a law providing in-state tuition to qualified illegal immigrants shows that nearly 64 percent of valid signatatures were gathered the old-fashioned way.

As noted this morning in The Sun, volunteers who oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants have been hitting the streets hard in recent weeks, camping out at local MVAs, going door to door and approaching Marylanders at festivals, parks and other gathering places.

Del. Neil Parrott, the Washington County Republican organizing the petition drive, said he hopes to have volunteers stationed outside every MVA building in the state this weekend, during the hours that they are open.

The board today notified petitioners that 47,288 of the 62,000 or so signatures they submitted at the end of last month have been deemed valid. That means petitioners must submit just 8,448 more by the end of this month.

If the petition effort succeeds, Maryland voters would decide in November 2012 whether illegal immigrants should be allowed access to the community college and state university tuition breaks.

Petitioners supported their effort with a sophisticated website that links to a database of registered voters, a controversial method that helps ensure would-be signers use their correct name. The Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and groups that advocate for immigrants have said they plan to challenge the Internet signatures.

But a signature breakdown provided to The Sun by Donna Duncan of the Board of Elections shows that while 17,092 valid signatures appear to have been Internet-generated, 30,196 came in through more traditional gathering methods such as the ones described in this morning's story.

Petitioners said they have encountered some opposition in the field, but Del. Michael D. Smigiel, a lawyer and Eastern Shore Republican, has worked to help the group gain access afforded by the First Amendment and the Maryland constitution.

The group sought a fresh opinion from the Office of the Attorney General to show authorities if they try to boot volunteers from public spaces. You can read it here.

To read what supporters of the in-state tuition law have to say, check out the One Maryland Defense campaign website.

For information about the repeal effort, here's the online signature-gathering effort,

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 1:14 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Immigration


Why are you referring to the method of collecting signatures through the online site as "controversial"? What is controversial about it other than the ACLU saying it is? Frankly, when you look at what the ACLU supports and opposes, that group is the controversial one, not the use of technology to support a petition drive.

The so-called controversy of the online name-and-address registration was manufactured by CASA to try to discredit the petition process. It's just one of many hurdles CASA and others opposed to a referendum will put up to try to stop the residents of Maryland from voting. Why anyone would want to disenfranchise Maryland voters from having their say is beyond me, but that's what CASA is trying to do.

Um, one side says the internet signatures are valid, the other does not.

A pretty obvious controversy.


"Newly released data from the State Board of Elections shows that petitioners trying to repeal a law providing in-state tuition to qualified illegal immigrants shows that nearly 64 percent of valid signatatures were gathered the old-fashioned way."
Where does this information come from? I can't find anything in the article you linked.

The newly released data comes from the Board of Elections, as noted in the blog post.


I am disturbed that the ACLU is calling the internet petition form "controversial." I went to the website, printed it up, and had to read it about 10 times to make sure I signed it in exactly the way that would not disqualify my voice from being heard. What OUGHT to be controversial is the fact that they disqualify thousands of legitimate signatures and make it super hard to sign it so they won't disqualify you. I am really angry now.

Check out the one maryland url.. it has a number to report people collecting signatures - wanna call something dirty.. I call that dirty!!!

The petitioners need to go downtown tonight before the U2 concert. Going to be 80,000 people there.

A State As Wealthy As Maryland, Should Not Have A Problem, Helping Young Warriors, Returning From 3 Wars !

This is another display of how corrupt Maryland politics really is. If this doesn't make it to the legal citizen voters of Maryland then something illegal is going on and should be investigated.

Nothing like a herd of aclu lawyers fighting hard to support the term illegal. By the way the aclu sued the state of Utah for tossing out internet generated petitions. Now here in Maryland they want them tossed out. Now that's controversial. I look forward to a Bykowicz article on the hypocrisy of the aclu.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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