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Deadlines come and go for Maryland and Ohio's heated veto referendums

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June 30, 2011

By Al Ortiz and Bailey Ludlam

Maryland and Ohio: Veto referendum supporters in Maryland and Ohio have little time to spare. Petition drive deadlines have arrived. In both states, voters may see challenges on legislative bills approved this year on their next statewide ballots.



Almost immediately following the approval of Senate Bill 167 legislators and opponents gathered to initiate a petition drive for a veto referendum for the 2012 ballot.

The legislation in question would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state or in-county tuition at Maryland colleges. However, in order to qualify students are required to have attended a Maryland high school for three years, as well as prove that their parents or themselves paid taxes. According to reports, the legislation is estimated to cost $3.5 million by 2016.[1] An estimated 10 other states have adopted similar laws.

In order to qualify a veto referendum on the statewide ballot, a minimum of 55,736 valid petition signatures must be submitted by June 30, 2011. The state's distribution law requires that no more than half of the required signatures be from any one county or the City of Baltimore.

On June 22 election officials validated a total of 47,288 signatures.[2] However, just one day prior to the deadline, Del. Neil Parrott said he would submit 8,448 signatures to the Maryland Secretary of State’s office at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30, to meet the midnight deadline.[3]

The petition drive deadline is June 30, 2011 at midnight. The State Board of Elections has two days to verify the submitted signatures.[3]

The referendum, however, may still face a legal challenge. According to reports, it is highly likely that the proposed measure may face a lawsuit following the June 30, 2011 petition deadline. Of the initial batch of signatures, it is estimated that approximately 17,000 were gathered online via a website called mdpetitions.com (timed out), which some have called into question for the possibility of fraud.



According to state law, a total of 231,149 signatures were needed for the proposed Ohio Senate Bill 5 veto referendum to be placed on the statewide 2011 ballot. However, in a record breaking performance, referendum proponents submitted a grand total of 1,298,301 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State on June 29, 2011 in a parade marching towards the secretary's offices. This breaks the previously held record of 812,978 signatures in 2008 for a constitutional amendment allowing a casino resort in Clinton County.[4][5]

According to state law, those signatures must come from least half of the 88 counties in the state. The Ohio Secretary of State now has until July 26, 2011 to verify signatures once they are turned in. On June 17, 2011, less than two weeks before the petition drive deadline, supporters announced the collection of 714,137 signatures.

The June 30 petition drive deadline represents the ninetieth day that the controversial Senate Bill 5 legislation was signed into law by the Governor of Ohio. The referendum aims to overturn the bill during the 2011 general election. SB 5 limits collective bargaining for public employees in the state. Most notably, it prevents unions from charging "fair share" dues to employees who opt out. SB 5 advocates say that the measure is crucial in helping out the struggling state economy, while opponents say that the law takes away earned bargaining rights.

Stay tuned for updates on both proposed referendums!

Upcoming deadlines

Other deadlines for the month of July include:

State Filing deadline for 2011 ballot Signatures for amendment Signatures for statute
Ohio July 6, 2011 385,245 115,574 + 115,574
Washington July 8, 2011 NA 241,153

See also

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