The effort to overturn Maryland’s statewide speed camera program came close but did not secure the number of signatures needed under the tight 30-day deadline. Although in the short term it looks like this means Maryland’s political class can proceed with the scamera cash grab with gusto, more careful observers will note that the petition is a wakeup call. An unfunded, volunteer group banded together using the Internet and get so many signatures in so short a time, finding 9 out of 10 people asked were willing to sign. Without the state’s irrational signature gathering limitations, regulations and dealines, the speed cameras would be gone. And the legislature knows it. Lawmakers who continue to ignore the will of the public will do so at their own peril.
Here’s the official statement from Maryland for Responsible Enforcement:
Unfortunately, today was not a bright day for the citizens of Maryland; as they fell just shy of the required 17,883 signatures needed to bring SB-277 to Ballot Referendum with just over 16,000 signatures.
MRE would like to thank all like minded Marylanders who signed the petition and helped collected signatures. We want everyone to know your voices will be heard and we will use our lessons learned to assist citizens challenge speed cameras in their jurisdictions.
Over the past few weeks many Marylanders have expressed their utter disdain ranging from anger over it being another tax to concern over an increased big-brother 1984 police state.
Maryland is one of the hardest if not the hardest states in the union to pass a referendum. Sadly, this results in so many Marylanders being denied a voice in their government by not being able to hold their elected officials responsible for questionable and unpopular policy.
The burdensome state guidelines only guarantee the citizen petitioners a limited few weeks. This allows little time for people to express their concerns over a law. Even if Marylanders had submitted the correct number of signatures, the state would still omit 20-30% of the voter intent. By means of a strict process that if a middle initial was not used, the signature would be void.
During the final days of MRE’s efforts, many Marylanders reached out to us who had just learned about the petition effort and wanted to sign or help collect signatures themselves. Many more Marylanders told us they were in a busy time of the year but would do everything they could to help. With little money spent and a volunteer effort the
message was clear Marylanders do not want speed cameras and do not want more taxes and burdens in these troubling financial times.
Between the information the law requires you to collect, specifically the exact way the voter is registered, and the extremely limited time frame it would be a near impossible monumental task for anyone to succeed in.
We would like to again thank all those who signed the petition and helped collect signatures. You were all able to accomplish so much in so little time.
The fight is never over and our continued activism of Speed Cameras will continue.
Justin Shuy and Daniel Zubairi
Maryland for Responsible Enforcement