Maryland death penalty supporters launched a petition drive Friday aimed at overturning the state’s newly signed repeal of capital punishment, while opponents vowed to campaign hard if the matter lands on the ballot next year.
Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger joined Del. Neil Parrott, R-Washington, and Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore County, to urge voters to sign a petition to put the question on the ballot in November 2014.
Death penalty supporters will need to get 55,736 valid signatures by June 30 to put the matter on the ballot. They will need 18,579 by May 31 to proceed with the drive.
Parrott, who is chairman of MDPetitions.com, helped petition laws to the ballot in last year’s election for the first time in 20 years. They included a same-sex marriage measure, a bill allowing in-state tuition for some students who are not in the country legally and a measure redrawing the state’s congressional districts. All three were upheld by voters.
MDPetitions.com has made it easier to trigger a referendum because of an online tool that enables residents to conform information they need to include with signatures as it is required by the Maryland State Board of Elections. That has reduced the number of signatures that previously would have been thrown out.
Parrott said MDPetitions.com will not participate in petition drives relating to other statewide measures this year in order to focus on the death penalty.
WBAL-AM posts, "Death Penalty Supporters Will Move Forward With A Referendum," by Robert Lang.
Maryland death penalty supporters say they are planning a petition drive that is aimed at overturning the state's newly signed death penalty repeal.
Republican Delegate Neil Parrott and Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, a Democrat, announced the petition drive for a referendum Friday, a day after Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the repeal measure into law.
Parrott, a Washington County Republican, is chairman of MDPetitions.com. He has already submitted petition language to the Maryland State Board of Elections to be sure that the language is legally sufficient.
They would need to get 55,736 signatures to petition the measure to referendum in November 2014. They would need to get one-third of those signatures by midnight May 31 to qualify to move forward.
Leaders of the NAACP and Maryland Citizens Against State Executions say they will fight this effort. Both groups believe a majority of Maryland voters will agree to let the repeal of the death penalty stand.
Earlier coverage from Maryland begins at the link.