Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Make the petition process easier, not harder

Your report on moves to change state referendum procedures repeatedly refers to "electronic signatures" ("Petition process under scrutiny," Jan. 9). That is a misnomer.

It would be nice if in the 21st century we were allowed to petition our government in a modern way. But in fact the voter must sign a physical piece of paper with a pen. The only part of the process that can be interpreted as "electronic" is that the petition form itself is created individually, with the name and address fields filled in with information extracted from the state's voter registration database.

That procedure did not evolve in a vacuum. It was created because the state was invalidating an exorbitant number of signatures for minor reasons — such as leaving out a middle initial — when previously such restrictions had not been applied.

It is difficult to walk up to a voter on the street who can recall information precisely as is recorded in the state's files. Personalizing a petition form merely improves accuracy and assists in the state's onerous validation process.

The brouhaha over the governor and others' rebellion against citizen's having the effrontery to challenge new laws results from its application to the referendum process. Lost in the dust is the fact that third parties must come up with 10,000 petition signatures merely to be recognized by the state — and the same stringent rules are applied to these petitions, too. (The 10,000 signatures are required despite the fact that a third party may have more than that number of registered members.)

In the case Libertarian Party of Maryland and Maryland Green Party v. Maryland State Board of Elections, a state circuit court judge ruled that the signature requirements were in fact overly restrictive. He was using common sense, but the Maryland Court of Appeals overruled him in a unanimous decision that was clearly politically driven.

Electronically generated petitions are merely a consequence of how difficult it is to meet the state-mandated requirements. What is really needed is a revision of the petition laws in a way that enhances, rather than diminishes, the rights of Maryland citizens.

Robert E. Glaser, Owings Mills

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Libertarian Party.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Trump is the anti-politician

    Trump is the anti-politician

    Why are the press and both political parties so upset that Donald Trump is running for president ("The Trump lesson that Bush and Clinton should heed," July 27)? Could it be that he does not need someone else's money so the Democratic National Committee, GOP, George Soros or big business can't...

  • Gun laws aren't enforced

    Gun laws aren't enforced

    The people screaming for more gun control and more gun laws and all the other useless ideas should be finding out why the laws now in place are not being enforced. The last maniac to shoot up a theater should have never been able to purchase a gun but evidently some judge did not do her job ("Gunman...

  • Baltimore needs a transit plan

    Baltimore needs a transit plan

    Your Sunday editorial deplores the untimely demise of Baltimore's Red Line and ponders how the community and state should proceed to address Baltimore's continuing mobility and unemployment problems ("Picking up the pieces after the Red Line," July 26).

  • The Sun needs to drop its anti-cop agenda

    The Sun needs to drop its anti-cop agenda

    The Sun's continued drumbeat demonizing police officers is alarming and further evidenced through the entirely one-sided and dangerous editorial, "The limits of video" (July 23). It is well established that Officer Brian Encina had a right to pull over Sandra Bland, as minor a traffic offense as...

  • Lives wasted in prison, with taxpayers picking up the tab

    Lives wasted in prison, with taxpayers picking up the tab

    I note that Norman O'Neal Brown was kept in prison for 24 years for a non violent drug offense ("A second chance in life," July 24). Thinking about that — I do that occasionally — it occurs to me that if it costs $50,000 a year to keep someone in prison, that would come to $1,200,000.

  • Breaking the cycle of poverty, one woman at a time

    Breaking the cycle of poverty, one woman at a time

    While I certainly agree with The Baltimore Sun's view on "Breaking the cycle of poverty" (July 27) and support the adoption of policies that would immediately put the brakes on the precipitous descent of our state's children into poverty, readers should know that workforce development organizations...

Comments
Loading

82°