by Annie Linskey
12:43 PM EDT, October 25, 2012
The group that petitioned three General Assembly laws to the November ballot is planning a fundraiser and rally in Anne Arundel County Monday -- their first major event in the heated campaign.
Neil Parrott, the founder of MDPetitions.com, said his goal is to "get the right information out" so Marylanders are able to pick through the crowded ballot and "vote the way they really want" on the questions.
Parrott's group petitioned to referendum a law that allows illegal immigrants more access to higher education and the state's congressional map and helped put the same-sex marriage law to voters. The result: Maryland's 2012 state-wide ballot will be the first in two decades where voters will be able to weigh-in on General Assembly passed laws.
A robust campaign -- led by the Maryland Marriage Alliance -- has formed to defeat same-sex marriage. However, the Dream Act and the congressional map have not had organized opposition thus far.
Parrott said that he hopes Monday's event will raise funds and spark conversations around the ballot questions. "The only reason we have three referendum questions is because of the grassroots efforts," Parrott said. "The only way to win is if neighbors talk about them with each other."
The message for the rally: "Pretty much, it is 'Vote No,' Parrott said.
Recent polls shows strong support in Maryland for the immigration measure (The Dream Act), which has had a campaign presence in Maryland for nearly a year. That group, called Educating Maryland Kids, attracted multiple six-figure donations, including one from a foundation run by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
There's been little activity on either side of the congressional map, which was designed to add a Democrat to Congress but has some of the most contorted districts in the country. The good government group Common Cause formed a ballot committee to oppose it this week. And, even some Democratic lawmakers in the state have stepped away from it.
Supporters including Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Steny Hoyer say the map is fair and court-approved.
The event will be Monday evening at Blob's Park Bavarian Beer Garden.
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