Last-Minute Petition Push for Redistricting Referendum
Councilman Jerry Walker told Patch that Delegate Nicholaus Kipke's petition effort is about 10,000 short of the 58,000 signatures needed by Sunday.
Update (4:32 p.m.)—Over the last few months, Delegate Nicholaus Kipke (R-31st District) has gathered thousands of signatures for a petition he formed calling for a referendum on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s congressional redistricting plan.
Kipke is hoping to get 58,000 signatures by Sunday in order to keep the petition alive. In an effort to meet that goal, Kipke and those who support his petition have scheduled a last-minute effort to obtain signatures at nine libraries in Anne Arundel County on Thursday night. The closest location for local residents is the Edgewater Library.
Kipke, a Republican who lives in Pasadena, called the governor’s redistricted map “gerrymandering” in a press release sent earlier this month.
A spokesperson at Kipke’s office told Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker (R-7th District) that the petition effort was about 10,000 signatures short as of Tuesday. While the campaign is gathering close to 1,000 signatures daily, more needs to be done, Walker told Patch on Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the Supreme Court won’t hear complaints against the congressional redistricting map by voters, but Kipke said that doesn’t affect his petition effort.
“The court traditionally does not get involved with cases like this,” Kipke told Patch.
Kipke also said that the deadline for gathering signatures for the petition is Sunday, but that he’s optimistic the goal can be reached.
Nancy Choice, chief of public services and branch management for Anne Arundel County Public Libraries (AACPL), confirmed that Kipke’s office booked one-hour meetings in various conference rooms from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.
“We’re not sponsoring this or hosting this. The delegate simply asked to book the meeting rooms,” Choice said. “[Kipke’s office] falls in as a government agency and they have access to meeting rooms.”
Choice said the AACPL Board of Trustees allows petitioning at county libraries, which is why they approved Kipke’s request to use its meeting rooms. While Kipke’s office booked the meeting rooms, the petitioning effort is still gathering politicians and volunteers to oversee the various locations.
Walker said “robo calls” are being scheduled throughout Anne Arundel County to prompt local Republicans and right-leaning Independents to sign the petition. The calls won’t be blasted to everybody, but will be targeted at residents based on voting history and Independents who consistently vote in the general election, Walker said.
The Baltimore Sun reported that liberal groups hailed the governor’s redistricting map “because it stopped padding the population count,” among other things. However, many Republicans including Walker, say it’s an intentional strategy to divide conservative-voting regions like Anne Arundel County.
“Frankly [the redistricting map], it’s ludicrous and nobody that looks at it can have a straight face and say it’s not gerrymandering,” Walker said.
Kipke called Patch and said that while he booked meeting rooms at nine libraries from 7 p.m to 8 p.m., he's confirmed volunteers for only three of those locations—Crofton, Riviera Beach and Brooklyn Park.
The delegate said his office is still looking for volunteers at six other libraries. Those locations are listed below:
- Maryland City
- Mountain Road
- South County
- West County
Pasadena Patch Editor Kaitlyn Carr contributed to this report.
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