www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-petition-half-signatures-verified,0,1399415.story

baltimoresun.com

Howard citizens' group obtains first half of signatures to bring referendum

By Amanda Yeager, ayeager@tribune.com

3:00 PM EDT, October 21, 2013

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A group of Howard County citizens who are attempting to bring a referendum of some parts of the county’s recently passed comprehensive zoning bill to the ballot in November 2014 have obtained enough signatures to move forward with their effort, according to county Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley.

Mickley said the group, Citizens Working to Fix Howard County, had more than half of the 5,390 signatures required to submit a second and final round of signatures.  The group has until Nov. 1, a little less than 30 days after they submitted the first batch on Oct. 4.

Mickley and Board of Elections staff spent 11 days verifying each of the signatures on the petition to ensure name standards were met, signees were registered voters and that the addresses they listed were valid.

He said 16 percent of the submitted signatures were invalidated, mostly because the people who signed were not registered to vote.

According to Lisa Markovitz, chairwoman of Citizens Working to Fix Howard County, the group plans to gather more signatures outside the Miller Library in Ellicott City on Oct. 28 and 29 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Among the decisions the group considers problematic are increased density in Maple Lawn, plans for development at the Rosa Bonheur pet cemetery in Elkridge and new regulations on farming through the county. A copy of the full petition is online at www.fixhoco.com.

Markovitz said she was hopeful the group’s efforts would pay off. “It’s been a very time-consuming, complicated endeavor, but I think that we are doing the right thing,” she said.