Maryland governor says voter referendum ‘too easy’

Betsi Fores | The Daily Caller News Foundation

Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said this week that he wants to amend the voter referendum process by which citizens are able to get measures in front of votersDem gov complains, says it’s time to ‘revisit’ referendums , calling it “too easy.”

“It’s probably been made a little too easy,” O’Malley told a local radio news station. “There was a requirement that required 50,000 actual physical signatures.  Because of the Internet that has been so easy to do electronically, that the legislature probably needs to revisit that.”

O’Malley’s comment comes following an election where three of seven ballot votes were by citizen referendum. Opponents of the DREAM Act, same-sex marriage and congressional redistricting collected thousands of signatures to get these issues on the ballot.

“I think we have been best served in our state in the over 200 years or more of our history, by a representative democracy rather then plebiscites,” O’Malley added.

On the issue of same-sex marriage and the DREAM Act, opponents got more than double the 55,736 signatures required for the ballot.

“Critics of the process say that a group of opponents can use the referendum process to overturn legislation they don’t like,” WBAL radio reports.

“Perhaps the biggest Election Day casualty was Maryland’s right to referendum the people’s constitutional right to petition a new state law onto the next general election ballot allowing state voters to have the last say over the law’s enactment,” Maryland political columnist Blair Lee wrote in the Maryland Gazzette.

“It’s a fundamental freedom establishing the people’s preeminence over their elected servants,” Lee says of the referendum process. “But O’Malley and the Democrats didn’t enjoy spending the past three months defending four controversial ballot questions. It cost them a lot of time, money and seriously detracted from O’Malley’s presidential campaign.”

The onservative grassroots group Change Maryland is highly critical of Governor O’Malley.

“The last thing the arrogant ruling-party monopoly wants in Maryland is to give voters the final say on legislation,” communications and policy director Jim Pettit, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It is telling that Gov. O’Malley dismissed the word ‘plebiscites’ – it suggests people are too dumb to decide the merits of legislation on their own.  Maryland needs a strong referendum check and balance or we can all look forward to getting run over by the political machine.”

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is considered a rising star in the Democratic party. He gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this year and many are whispering of a presidential run in 2016.

Many conservatives in Maryland however are highly critical of his policies, including his tax policies that they argue have driven residence away to neighboring Virginia.


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