Baltimore Sun: “Court OKs messy signatures on petitions”

From an article by Julie Bykowicz and Larry Carson in the Baltimore Sun newspaper:

In a ruling sure to be welcomed by Marylanders with sloppy pensmanship, the Court of Appeals has decided that petition signatures need not be legible to be valid.

“We hold that a signature on a petition for referendum is but one component of the voter’s identity that is to be considered in the validation process,” the majority opinion of state’s highest court says. “… An illegible signature, on its own, does not preclude validation.”

The 5-to-2 ruling, reported this morning, has an immediate impact on two political parties. The Green Party and Libertarian Party each failed to win the minimum 1 percent of votes in the most recent gubernatorial election required of official parties. Each has petitioned the state to remain viable.

Read the rest here.

4 thoughts on “Baltimore Sun: “Court OKs messy signatures on petitions”

  1. paulie

    @ BAN

    http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/03/22/maryland-court-of-appeals-says-signatures-can-be-valid-even-when-signature-is-illegible/

    ……The vote was 5-2. The case is Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association v Montgomery County Board of Elections, no. 86.

    The dissent starts by saying, “Evolution blessed mankind with, among other beneficial features, opposable thumbs. Perfecting the use of our thumbs, modern descendants of the first Homo Sapiens, unlike other primates, are able to sign their names, in cursive, in a legible manner.”

    The decision does not decide a related issue, whether a signature is valid if the signer omits his or her middle initial yet includes that middle initial on the voter registration form (or vice versa). That issue is pending in the 4th circuit, in Kendall v Howard County, Maryland, 09-2304. It was argued on December 9, 2010. A bill is pending in the legislature to provide that the middle initial must not necessarily be included on the petition, even if it is on the registration records (or vice versa).

  2. Andy

    I know that the Libertarian Party of Maryland turned in 13,787 signatures in early January, and then they turned in more signatures in early March to boost their total to 14,900.

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