www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-referendums-20121115,0,2719347.story

baltimoresun.com

Referendums remain constitutionally sound

8:15 AM EST, November 15, 2012

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It's amazing that the Gov. Martin O'Malley would make such an asinine assessment of a referendum process that was approved by the people both at its inception and during the 2012 election cycle ("A referendum on referendums," Nov. 13).

First, the online process created by Del. Neil Parrott, MDPetitions.com, is in no way different from that of the physical forms presented by citizens at community meetings, events and grocery markets across the state. The online petition process serves only as a conduit for those who believe the legislature has gone too far. It allows them to print a physical form that is then signed and returned either to the state Board of Elections or to the group promoting the ballot referendum.

Garnering more than 55,000 signatures is no small feat, especially when the authorization of these signatures in Maryland remains one of the strictest in the nation. Legislators, who seem to have forgotten that they work for the people, not the other way around, should remember that the constitutional amendment allowing petition referendums was approved by a majority of Maryland voters in 1914 and that any change in the process would have to be approved by the voters as well.

The amendment has proven itself as a valuable tool for governmental reform for nearly a century, and it remains the only viable option citizens have to ensure an effective system of checks and balances in the absence of a strong minority party. The will of the people should always trump that of partisan politics.

Hassan Giordano, Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the political action committee Independent Movement PAC.