In a ruling that is already being celebrated by NOM, by a 5-2 decision the Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that election officials may no longer contest illegible signatures on referendum petitions.
The Court of Appeals this week released its reasoning behind last fall’s decision on a Montgomery County ambulance fee referendum. The court decision will affect political efforts statewide, and signature-gatherers said it will make their task easier. Everything from local questions to a referendum on gay marriage, if such a measure passes the legislature, could feel the impact. Elections officials in Montgomery had rejected thousands of signatures on petitions last year because of the way voters signed their names. The elections officials blocked a referendum seeking to undo a newly passed fee for ambulance service, and that decision was upheld by a Montgomery circuit court judge. But in September, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and ordered the referendum placed on the ballot. It didn’t say why, until Tuesday.
Scribble any signature you like. As long as the printed name matches that of a registered voter, the petition will be counted. GOP activists are quoted in the above-linked article as saying they are “thrilled” with the ruling. Why wouldn’t they be?