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'Dream Act' Opponents Tally Twice the Required Signatures

State elections board has until July 22 to make results official. Meanwhile, supporters and opponents gird for campaign to win voters over ahead of 2012 election.

Opponents of the Maryland “Dream Act” have cleared their most important hurdle, with validated signatures totaling twice as many as needed to send the would-be law to referendum next year.

Elections officials verified the final batch of signatures on Thursday afternoon. Of the more than 76,000 submitted on the June 30 deadline, 63,118 were deemed valid.

That brings the total to 110,346 valid signatures amassed since Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law in May. The Dream Act would allow recent high school graduates who are in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements, including attending a state high school for at least three years and that their parents pay state taxes.

The Maryland State Board of Elections has until July 22 to certify the results. Administrator Linda Lamone expects to take the full two weeks so that Dream Act supporters have the full time to weigh their options on taking the issue to court.

“The process is structured in a manner to give interested parties time to examine issues,” Lamone said. “… It’s an orderly process that’s followed and everybody is on notice.”

Dream Act supporters have challenged the petition drive on two fronts.

The ACLU of Maryland has questioned the validity of MDpetitions.com, the first time that a state referendum drive has gone online to gather signatures.

And Casa of Maryland will be given the names of every signature under provisions of the Maryland Public Information Act, so that they can “independently verify” the signatures. The three state delegates leading the anti-Dream Act push will be given the same information.

Dream Act opponents say that the collection of so many signatures in less than two months sends a message on how much opposition there is, and renders any would-be challenges to the signature count moot.

“The numbers are just too overwhelming,” said Sue Payne, an organizer for Rally for America.

Maryland Secretary of State John P. McDonough will decide how the question is worded on the November 2012 ballot.

A coalition of clergy leaders and immigrant advocates is undeterred in defending the Dream Act, and will ratchet up their efforts to convince voters that the law is morally and fiscally sound.

“[T]he theology of love will triumph over hate,” the coalition said in a statement issued Friday night. “We believe that investing in our children is critical for a successful Maryland. And, we trust that once Marylanders do the math, they will understand the fiscal and moral import to ensure the MD DREAM Law prevails.”

By The Numbers

Here's a breakdown of anti-Dream Act signatures, by county.

Baltimore County

26,023

Harford

12,758

Anne Arundel

Carroll

12,674

11,056

Frederick

7,392

Washington

5,778

Howard

5,517

Montgomery

4,855

Baltimore City

3,658
Jeff Hawkins July 13, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Alffie, Here is just one item. I could provide many more, but there is a "space" issue. " In 2004, a Maryland state legislator contacted the DOJ to express his concern that the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles was allowing non-citizens apply­ing for driver's licenses to register to vote. When he asked the DMV to stop, he was told that it was required by the NVRA to offer all driver's license applicants the opportunity to register to vote. The Justice Department quickly sent the Maryland dele­gate a letter pointing out that the NVRA had no such requirement and that federal law makes it a crime for a non-citizen to register. The letter went on to say that a state that issues licenses to non-cit­izens should not offer such an individual the right to register to vote. Nonetheless, there is no evi­dence that the Maryland DMV has changed its pro­cedures to deter non-citizens from registering, and Maryland officials recently testified that they were issuing 2,000 driver's licenses per week to undocu­mented aliens." To state that "illegals" are NOT voting is in error. You might "wish" they weren't voting, but somehow they are doing it. So to accuse someone of a blatant lie is wrong. Your personal experience may justify your statement, but it does not count for the "big " picture. It appears that if anything, based on your own words.....you are the one who seems to have a "hate" issue with calling people "idiots", "stupid".
Doug R July 22, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Good answer Councilman. I agree. This bill is a worthy and solid investment in Maryland's future. I for one will be voting to keep this law on the books. Proudly, I might add. Judging by the amount of blatant misinformation on this thread, there will be a lot of effort underway to convince fair-minded Marylanders that this bill is unfair or costing taxpayers too much money. Ignorance is far, far more expensive. These are AMERICAN kids who through know fault of their own find themselves in that situation. Charing them out-of-state tuition will deny hundreds or thousands of them access to a good education. That would be so morally wrong, I just might have to get involved in this campaign and fight for those who don't have enough voices already on their side.
Doug R July 22, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Illegals are NOT voting. This is blatantly wrong and absurd misinformation. There are probably more legitimate citizens who are prevented from voting by unnecessary and intentionally drafted laws that are making harder for people to vote and register to vote of late by all these wacky Republican legislatures all over the country. It is interesting that Republicans are usually trying to restrict legitimate voters access to voting while Democrats tend to try to increase it. THAT is a legitimate partisan issue.
123BOOM July 24, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Let's open our arms, embrace and invite the federal government into our sate, instead of becoming a sanctuary haven. Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the "Obama administration set a record " last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show. The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals. Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to The Associated Press. An additional 13,028 were deported last year after being arrested on less serious traffic law violations, nearly three times the 4,527 traffic offenders deported two years earlier, according to the data. The spike in the numbers of people deported for traffic offenses as well as a 78 percent increase in people deported for immigration-related offenses renewed skepticism about the administration's claims that it is focusing on the most dangerous criminals.
Jeff Hawkins July 25, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Doug in Rockville: Hey Doug.....you couldn't be THE Doug from Rockville could you? Your comment: "I for one will be voting to keep this law on the books. Proudly, I might add." (I guess I will be "cancelling out" your vote with my vote Doug.....proudly too :) Your comment: "just might have to get involved in this campaign and fight for those who don't have enough voices already on their side." (are you a "gamechanger" Doug?).....cue the Superman TV show music.... Jeff in Rockville.....

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