You and Four Friends Can Make Elections More Open
by Mark Grannis
If you’re a registered Maryland voter, or you live or work with registered Maryland voters, you can expand the choices that Maryland voters will see on their ballots this November. How? By asking your family, friends, and co-workers to sign a petition putting the Libertarian Party of Maryland back on the ballot.
It’s easy. You don’t have to knock on any doors or talk to any strangers, and we can almost guarantee that every friend you ask will be happy to help out.
Here’s the deal: Every four years, smaller political parties in Maryland need to prove they have enough public support to continue running candidates. The signatures of 10,000 registered voters are supposed to do the trick, and the Libertarian Party submitted 12,000 — 20% more than the number required. But the State rejected thousands of Libertarian Party signatures for trivial reasons, like someone writing Liz instead of Elizabeth, or leaving out a middle initial.
So now we need 2,800 more signatures. We don’t need 2,800 more people to become Libertarians. We just need 2,800 more people to agree that Libertarians should be on the ballot so people have the option to vote for them if they want to.
If you’re a registered Maryland voter, you can help out in a big way with just a little time and effort. Here’s how:
Step One: Download the 2012 Libertarian Party Petition Form. It’s only one page, and you only need to print one copy. There’s a line at the top where you need to write the name of your County (or check a box if you live in the City of Baltimore).
Step Two: Sign the form yourself on line 1. Skip this step if you already signed this petition in late 2010 or 2011. But if you haven’t signed before, please do it now. Believe it or not, the way you print your name is the tricky part. Please make sure you print your first, middle, and last name in full, with no nicknames. Add your residential address, city and zip code, and then sign.
Step Three: Ask other Maryland voters to sign. Ask the other voters in your house or apartment. Ask your next-door neighbors. Ask your friends at the office. All that matters is that they be registered Maryland voters. It doesn’t matter what party they belong to or how they tend to vote; practically everyone is in favor of ballot access. Many people will be able to collect five or ten signatures from family, friends, and coworkers in just a few minutes. If you run out of lines before you run out of friends, just download another form (and remember to put your county at the top again). And again, please take care with the way the names are printed. That’s why most signatures get invalidated.
Some people may ask you whether this means they have to vote for Libertarian candidates. The answer is no; this has no effect on how the signers vote.
And if anyone asks what happens to the information they put on the form, please assure them that we do not use this information to put people on any Libertarian Party mailing lists.
Step Four: Provide the “individual circulator’s” information at the bottom. “Circulator” means you; you’re the one who is circulating this page of the petition. So after all the signatures have been signed on lines 1-5, write your name and address again at the bottom, along with your phone number, or else the state will invalidate every signature on the petition. Then sign and date the form in the lower right-hand corner. (If you’re turning in multiple forms, you need to to sign and date all of them. But if you’re turning in multiple forms, you’re a hero and you won’t mind.)
Step Five: Mail the forms to this address: Libertarian Party of Maryland, P.O. Box 176, Abingdon, MD 21009-0176.
That’s all there is to it. Thank you so much for doing your part to give Maryland voters more options at the polls this November and beyond.