Citizens shouldn't have to sue for referendum petition to be accepted [Letter]

January 09, 2014

I read with interest the letter from Courtney Watson, printed in the Dec. 10 edition, in which she states that referendum rights were addressed in a bill she sponsored in 2010 [CB34].

She called for the Maryland Board of Elections to look into what the Howard County Board of Elections has done in refusing to certify the current referendum of parts of 2013 CB32 Comp Zoning.

Many people obtained and had certified more than the necessary number of signatures. [The group getting the signatures had asked in advance for a certification of the wording being a legal summary of the parts of the bill, and were told the Board would not make that decision.]

Then, when enough signatures were obtained, the Board of Elections changed their mind and said it wasn't fair and accurate after all. 

Ms. Watson, what is going to be done — specifically — about this referendum? 

Ms. Watson's letter is commendable regarding future policies being made more clear, however, what about the 7,000 people who signed this referendum who are being ignored? 

In fact, Ms. Watson's bill mentioned in her letter, calls for requirements for referendum petitions that were all met by this petition.

The Howard County Board of Elections overstepped its authority here. Who is going to do something about that? The petitioners have to sue and expect a judge in Howard County to overturn the Board of Elections? 

Bottom line? Our politicians should be pressuring this to be set right and not leaving it to the citizens to continue fighting for the right to referendum that has been taken from them!

Carol Jane Gray


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