Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BREAKING: Maryland Board of Elections Validates Enough Signatures for Referendum Challenge to Congressional Districts

DOUBLE-UPDATE: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS & A GOP ACTIVIST RESPOND: Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews (a Democrat) provided the following response to the breaking redistricting news:
PHIL ANDREWS: The apparent success of the referendum drive to put the atrocious congressional district map on the ballot is a victory for the people of Maryland who will have the chance to force the Governor and the General Assembly to redraw a map that should have been dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, former GOP redistricting consultant Howard Gorrell, provided Maryland Juice commentary on the (current) success of the petition drive. Mr. Gorrell has been engaging in activism against the Congressional districts for several months now and tipped off Maryland Juice about the Board of Election validation status:
HOWARD GORRELL: It is not a victory for Republicans, Tea Party supporters and most Democrats living within the borders of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, but it is a giant triumph for approximately 85 % of speakers to provide testimony at the 12 Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee public hearings last year. They urged the Committee to maximize geographic compactness, as well as keeping geographical communities that share common interests, not be grouped with those with different needs.

UPDATE: MARYLAND DEMOCRATS RESPOND: Matt Verghese, a spokesperson for the Maryland Democrats, had this response to the Republican effort to overturn the Congressional districts:
MARYLAND DEMOCRATS: We’re still waiting on the State Board of Elections to officially certify the referendum petition before we decide what our next step is.

Maryland has very strict verification standards on petition signatures based on court precedent, MD laws and regulations. Our priority is making sure that these standards have been met and the integrity of the process is maintained.

That being said, we’re very confident heading into November.

The MD GOP has got out of the winning election business, and has decided to gather signatures for a living. This is a sad state of affairs for the opposition.

We expect Maryland voters to reject the GOP attempt to impose their partisan Tea Party agenda through the referendum process, just as they’ve rejected GOP candidates.

The redistricting maps – passed by large majorities in the MGA and upheld by every court – that reflect our diversity and Democratic population growth, will win on Election Day.

Today, the Maryland Board of Election validated enough signatures to subject the State's new Congressional districts to a referendum this November. A number of Republican activists and elected officials organized the signature-gathering effort, and today they officially reached  56,342 -- ie: several hundred more signatures than the 55,736 needed. Hat Tip: Redistricting activist Howard Gorrell.

It is still unclear how Democrats will respond to this new development, but see the details below:

Maryland Board of Elections Petition Validation Status - July 11, 2012

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