Next to a stack of five boxes of petitions, anti-Real ID activists held a press conference this morning to announce that they fell short of their goal to collect 55,087 signatures in order to get a Repeal Real ID referendum on the Maine ballot. They had 90 days to do so; but by the time the petitions are approved and printed, there are only about 60 useable days, they said. Ultimately, as of today's deadline, more than 500 volunteers had collected 24,125 signatures.
"We are heartened and awed and incredibly impressed by all of the grassroots effort," said Kathleen McGee, the Bowdoinham citizen who submitted one of two petitions to repeal the Real ID law.
The other petitioner, Donna Bendicksen of Portland, was less composed. "I know that if we had had more time, we would have been able to collect enough signatures. This battle is far from over," she said, before breaking off -- "I'm really upset about this, okay?"
Maine Civil Liberties Union legal director Zachary Heiden, along with other speakers, vowed to continue the fight, claiming that there were other strategies for getting in the way of Real ID. "Real ID implementation is a multi-year process," he said.
When asked what other options the activists have, McGee suggested "approaching the legislature," but declined to elaborate, telling the Federal Street gathering of reporters to "stay tuned."