- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Organizers of a petition to repeal Maryland’s Dream Act collected more than 47,000 valid voter signatures through the end of May, according to numbers released Wednesday by the state Board of Elections.

State election officials have approved 47,288 of the nearly 58,000 signatures submitted on May 31 by petition organizers who hope to force a 2012 referendum on the law allowing in-state tuition for many college-aged illegal immigrants.

Petitioners were required to submit at least 18,579 signatures by May 31 — a goal they easily met. They must still submit a total of 55,736 signatures by June 30 to suspend the law and force a 2012 statewide vote on the issue.

More than 17,000 of the 47,288 approved signatures came from petitions printed on mdpetitions.com, a site launched by organizes to allow residents to print and distribute their own copies of the petitions.

Elections officials rejected 10,217 signatures, nearly one-fourth of which were signed by non-voters. Others were rejected due to various errors and technicalities.

The ACLU of Maryland raised questions earlier this month over the legality of an online petition system used to collect signatures, saying an automatic information generator used on the site is easily subject to fraud and violates state law requiring that all petition signers personally provide all of their own information.

The state elections board was reviewing the issue.

• David Hill can be reached at dhill@washingtontimes.com.

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