Another Referendum Effort Falls Victim to Maryland’s Absurd Signature Requirements

Tue, Apr 13 2010 by Anonymous

We’ve been telling you for some time about Maryland’s ridiculously strict requirements for a valid signature on a referendum petition. That requirement has taken out another effort by citizens to exercise their referendum rights in Howard County as 36% of their petition signatures were rejected.

According to Larry Carson at the Baltimore Sun,

“Elections board administrator Betty L. Nordaas said the most common reason for disqualification was that signatures did not match exactly those on voter registrations or the person’s printed name on the petition.

“People would write ‘Kathy’ for Katherine,’ or ‘Pam’ for Pamela,’ ” Nordaas said Thursday.

One activist involved with the petition effort stated it perfectly: “The purpose of the [signature verification] process…is to verify that this person is a registered voter, not if they put their middle initial in their signature.”

This seems pretty common sense - that if officials can see that the person who signed a petition is a registered voter their signature should count - and one really has to wonder how elections officials can sit at their desks in good conscience and silence voters by striking their signatures simply because the voter goes by a shortened version of their name.

Disqualified Signatures