Professionals who gather signatures for ballot measures are common on statewide issues. They are less common on local issues, but one group is using the pros to collect enough voter sign-ups — and some are complaining about their tactics.
Since October, the Portlanders for Water Reform has been working to gather more than 29,000 signatures to put their measure on the ballot. The group wants a question on the ballot that will allow Portland voters to decide if an independent board should control the water and sewer departments instead of the city.
As soon as the snow melts, Missourians may find themselves confronting a horde of people stopping them outside stores, on the streets or at their front doors.
The object: to get their signatures on petitions that would put a variety of issues – such as early voting, income taxes and teacher tenure – on the August or November ballot.
So far, almost 40 such initiative petitions, covering at least 24 different topics, have been cleared by Secretary of State Jason Kander for circulation. That’s a huge number for a non-presidential election year. In 2010, the last such non-presidential year, 23 initiatives were approved for circulation.
Concern over variations in the ballots used to collect signatures to put the downtown Sacramento arena before voters led to a pause in signature verification this week, and the count had to be restarted Friday.
“We had some sorting to do,” Jill LaVine, Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, said in describing the pause. That resulted in her office issuing no update on how many signatures had been verified of the 34,000 submitted by groups concerned about the arena plan. Earlier this week, The4000, a group opposing the ballot measure and supporting the arena, called for further scrutiny of the ballots after determining at least five different versions were used last summer and fall to collect voter signatures.
A man is facing charges of forging signatures on petitions asking for the recall of Colorado Sen. John Morse.
The District Attorney’s Office said Thursday an arrest warrant has been issued for Nickolas Robinson. He’s accused of forging at least 13 signatures on recall petitions. Robinson could not be located for comment on Friday.
According to KKTV-TV (http://tinyurl.com/o3pybso), the warrant alleges that Robinson committed 13 counts of forgery, seven counts of perjury and 13 counts of attempt to influence a public servant last May.
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Every major election year, some of the more interesting results come not from contests for elected office, but from ballot initiatives. Even though most states haven’t yet finalized which questions will or will not go to voters in 2014, some states will almost certainly weigh in on a number of high-profile issues.
Here’s a round up of some of the more interesting questions out there right now, and where the efforts to get those questions to voters in 2014 stands:
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Since 2011, the San Diego City Council has faced three referendums challenging its decisions. Another is out for signature. The most recent one, having to do with the Barrio Logan land use plan, has generated frustration among those supporting the council decision. Calling the referendum process undemocratic, a group opposing the referendum filed a lawsuit seeking to stop it. They lost twice.
There is nothing about which to be frustrated. The use of referendums to challenge legislative decisions is legal and has deep roots in democracy. There is nothing undemocratic about leaving decisions to San Diego voters, which is all a referendum does. It is a constitutional right in California.
The entire effort for a ballot measure on the proposed downtown Sacramento arena has been messy, with the public left in the dark too often.
People who want a vote on the arena subsidy accuse city officials of hiding the ball on how much taxpayers would actually fork over. But they’re not doing themselves any favors by playing games with their petitions.
They should be straight with voters and release all the various petitions they submitted last month. James Cathcart, a leader of Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, told The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board Wednesday that he doesn’t know if that will happen.
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A controversial campaign to reform California’s public pensions faces an uncertain future after the state attorney general chose what the measure’s backers consider to be unfriendly language for their proposed ballot initiative.
Chuck Reed, the mayor of San Jose and the driving force behind the proposal, told Reuters on Tuesday he will confer with supporters on whether to press ahead with trying to get the overhaul before voters later this year, and he might sue over Attorney General Kamala Harris’ wording for the ballot. A decision should be made by the end of January, Reed said.
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A California judge has ruled in favor of validating thousands of signatures on a pro-family petition challenging that state’s new transgender law.
The controversial law gives transgender students special rights, letting them use bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite gender.
California’s secretary of state had tried to block the signatures from being counted in a referendum because they were not accepted by the court on time.
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More than 35,000 people willingly signed on to an effort by STOP to put city plans for a new Kings arena to a public vote but now, almost a month since those names were turned in to the city clerk, pro-arena groups are taking issue with what version of the petition voters signed.
“Voters are not getting the same pieces of information,” Chris Lehane, consultant with The4000, said Monday. ”Some dates are all over the place. Others don’t include consistent language in the notice of intent. That’s the reason why they’re pursuing this.”
With a letter hand-delivered to the county registrar late Friday, The4000 is claiming that there are at least five versions of the petition circulated by STOP.