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Maryland’s Highest State Court Rules that Petitions are not Invalid Even Though Circulator Affidavit Has Minor Error

On December 2, the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest state court, ruled that petition sheets are not invalid just because the circulator’s affidavit contains a minor error. Here is the decision in Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 v Montgomery County, 2011-132. The vote was 6-1. The lower court had invalidated a referendum petition because two of the circulators used an incorrect zip code when they filled out their affidavits.

One circulator’s actual zip code was 49006, but he wrote down 49008. Another circulator’s zip code was 49048, but he wrote down 49004. The two of them together had collected 6,136 otherwise valid signatures, and the referendum would not have had enough valid signatures if their work had been disqualified.

Maryland has very stringent rules about signatures of voters on petitions, but this case involved the circulator’s affidavit, and did not concern petition signatures of voters.

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