- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Some donations to gay waitress who allegedly forged hate note refunded
- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
Maryland redistricting flap may not be put to a vote
Opposition still seeks petition names
A petition drive to put the state’s new congressional map on the ballot could end Thursday if organizers cannot get all the signatures they need and were still missing Wednesday night.
Petitioners have until Thursday night to submit 18,579 valid voter signatures to the state - one-third of the 55,736 they must submit by June 30 to force a November referendum on the map, which was redrawn last year by state officials and approved by the General Assembly. If Thursday’s deadline is not met, the petition drive is over.
Organizers have spent the past two months collecting signatures but said Wednesday they were still short of the 18,579 mark.
Leaders of the drive acknowledged that even if they do reach the threshold, collecting an additional 37,000 signatures in the next month will be a daunting task.
“We’re doing everything we can to bring in signatures,” said Delegate Neil C. Parrott, Washington Republican and petition organizer. “When people see the map they want to sign, but it’s just been tough trying to get the map in front of enough people to see it.”
The new map was passed into law in October despite accusations from Republicans that it was gerrymandered by Democratic leaders to help them win the 6th District, which covers much of Western Maryland. Since 1993, the district has been represented by GOPRep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.
Six of the state’s eight seats are currently held by Democrats.
Some black and Hispanic Democrats also argued that the map was drawn to dilute minority voter influence in some districts.
A lawsuit challenging the map was thrown out last December by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Opponents hope that a referendum in November could allow voters to reject the map, forcing state officials to craft another one before the 2014 congressional elections.
Supporters of the new map say it has withstood legal inspection, and that most residents are satisfied with the redrawn districts and have moved onto other concerns.
“It’s insider baseball for a lot of voters, I think. I didn’t even know there was a petition drive on this,” said House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve, Montgomery Democrat. “The founders of the republic set up the system for redistricting the way they did and we’ve set up eight districts that are more competitive than they were two years ago.”
Mr. Parrott has led the petition effort using both public appearances and the website MDPetitions.com, which allows residents to print and distribute their own copies of the petition.
He said the effort has been overshadowed somewhat by the petition drive against Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, which has been led by the Maryland Marriage Alliance.
Gay-marriage opponents said Tuesday they have collected more than 113,000 signatures, twice what they need to get the question on November’s ballot.
Mr. Parrott said redistricting petitioners were working frantically Wednesday, calling and emailing potential supporters while reminding people who had signed to turn in their petitions.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!