Volunteers trying to get the name of Texas billionaire Ross Perot on Maryland's presidential ballot claimed yesterday to have reached -- and exceeded -- their goal of obtaining the required signatures of 63,169 voters.
But the group, which has been collecting names for five weeks, plans to continue its efforts until more than 125,000 voters have signed to make sure they have ample breathing room for any signatures declared invalid.
"We're not even going to hand them over to the Board of Elections until we got double the number," said David Green, a spokesman for the Maryland Draft Perot Committee.
Mr. Green said petitions signed during the annual Bay Bridge walk and Towsontown Spring Festival last weekend accounted for a boost in signatures. He said 26,580 people signed, more than double the approximately 11,000 gathered in each of the previous four weeks.
Mr. Perot has said he will run for president as an independent candidate if supporters get him on the ballot in all 50 states.
Already, groups in Ohio, Texas and Tennessee have gathered enough signatures to get Mr. Perot on the ballot, Mr. Green said.
Maryland requires 3 percent of the state's registered voters -- 63,169 signatures -- to be submitted by Aug. 3 for the November election. Mr. Green said his group will turn in its petitions June 1.
He said 16 volunteers will be gathering signatures in Ocean City over Memorial Day weekend.
Mr. Green said campaign workers this past week collected more than 5,700 signatures in Baltimore County, 4,700 in Montgomery and 3,400 in Anne Arundel. More than 2,200 people signed petitions last week in Baltimore, he said.