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Volunteers were in some instances even driving to the homes of signers to get them to correct mistakes they had made when filling out their personal information, Mr. Parrott said.

He added that organizers expect to continue collecting signatures all day Thursday and turn them in Thursday night to the Maryland Secretary of State Office.

“We’re counting every last signature,” Mr. Parrott said. “We know lots are coming in the mail and we still think we can reach our goal.”

If the petition fails, it would be the first defeat for online petitioning in Maryland.

The use of printable online petitions has been considered a major breakthrough in the state, with many observers predicting it will help groups more effectively petition issues to be on the ballot.

Mr. Parrott used online petitions last year to force a referendum this fall on the Dream Act, which would allow many college-age illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. He has also assisted with the gay-marriage petition, which used the same method.