Local Boards Start Validating Signatures on Petitions; Count Revised - Southern Maryland Headline News

Local Boards Start Validating Signatures on Petitions; Count Revised

By Len Lazarick, Len@MarylandReporter.com

(June 3, 2011) — Local boards of elections Friday started validating the signatures on what turns out to be somewhat fewer petitions than originally claimed to overturn the law granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. So far, according to the State Board of Elections website, 4,483 out of about 58,000 signatures submitted have been validated, and 612 were found invalid, a relatively low rate of rejection.

The opponents of the new law had to have 18,500 signatures by May 31, and need a total of 55,736 by June 30.

Mary Wagner, head of the voter registration division at the state board, said she wasn’t surprised at the difference between what the petitioners certified they submitted – 62,496 — and the number of signatures the board counted. In 10 years of doing this, “I’ve never seen the number the petitioners said they had match the actual number,” Wagner said. In this case, more than 17,000 pages were submitted, making a hand count difficult.

Del. Neil Parrott, the Washington County Republican chairing the drive, also released figures that showed where the signatures were collected by county.

Baltimore County, where Del. Pat McDonough is leading the charge, had the highest number in the state. There, 14,301 signatures were collected, almost a quarter of the total. The other top five counties were Anne Arundel, 8,586; Harford, 5,922; Carroll, 5,820; and Washington, 3,310. Numbers for Calvert County were initially overcounted, leading to the mistaken numbers released by the petitioners on Tuesday.

The number of signatures rejected so far, about 12%, is fairly low by past standards, where as many as a third of signatures have been rejected.

The election board plans on releasing numbers on its website every afternoon after local boards report their numbers.

Numbers of signatures released by petitioners

Allegany County 309
Anne Arundel 8,586
Baltimore City 1,234
Baltimore County 14,307
Calvert County 1,581
Caroline County 1,164
Carroll County 5,820
Cecil County 1,830
Charles County 325
Dorchester 587
Frederick 2,933
Garrett 109
Harford 5,922
Howard 3,020
Kent County 435
Montgomery 2,301
Prince George’s 1,045
Queen Anne’s 1,114
St. Mary’s 608
Somerset 50
Talbot 1,218
Washington 3,310
Wicomico 383
Worcester 305

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