According to Lee, the distinction goes to Parrott for single-handedly returning (at least some) power to the people in our one-party state with his innovative strategy on the “Dream Act” petition drive. Citizens now have renewed hope that the referendum process will be one way to check the power of politicians like Martin O’Malley from time to time. Hat tip: Brad
From The Gazette.net on Friday:
Person of the Year
Neil Parrott: Freshman delegate from Western Maryland single-handedly restored Maryland’s voter referendum right. Maryland’s Constitution allows voters to petition General Assembly bills to the next election’s ballot for voter ratification or rejection — a final check on the legislature and governor.
But Maryland’s Court of Appeals gutted the referendum by ruling that petition signatures must conform, exactly, to the way voters signed their voter registration cards years earlier. No petition drive has been successful in the past 20 years.
So Del. Parrott, a civil engineer, set up a website with software that connects voters with their registration cards, allowing their signatures to meet the court’s conformity standard.
Thanks to Parrott’s innovation, the 2011 Dream Act (in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens) met the signature test and will be on November’s ballot.
But The Dream Act isn’t the issue. The one-party state legislature had no interest, whatsoever, in restoring the people’s right to have final say over its legislative acts. But Neil Parrott and the Internet put the people back in charge of the government and, for that, he deserves every Marylander’s gratitude.