Maryland State Court of Appeals Upholds Petitions Collected via the Internet

On August 17, the Maryland State Court of Appeals, the highest state court in Maryland, issued this brief order, agreeing with the lower court that petitions are valid when the blank petition forms had been distributed to volunteer circulators via the internet and the circulator’s home printer. The order says the court will explain its reasoning later. The case is Whitley v Maryland State Board of Elections, 133-2011.

The action puts a referendum on the ballot that asks voters if they want to repeal the state’s congressional redistricting plan. The Democratic Party tried to persuade the court to invalidate the petition, on the basis that petition blanks cannot be distributed that way. The program also made it possible for voters at home to print a blank petition, sign that petition as a voter, and also sign off as the volunteer circulator. Furthermore, the program made it possible to the signer’s address to be printed by the signer-circulator’s home printer, thus easing legibility concerns, at least for the address. Here is a story about the issues in the case, written before the decision came out. Thanks to Doug McNeil for this news.

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