The Associated Press

A group trying to oust Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is again paying professionals to gather signatures from voters in a bid to force a recall election against the lawman.

Fundraising difficulties had prompted the group to stop using paid signature gatherers nearly two months ago and instead rely on only volunteers.

But recall organizer Lilia Alvarez says the paid signature gatherers resumed their work for her group Wednesday after contributors followed through on pledges to donate money.

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A group plans to start collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would let Michigan voters repeal laws made referendum-proof with appropriations.

Ferndale-based Voters for Fair Use of Ballot Referendum plan to kick off its signature gathering at Detroit-area post offices on Thursday. Backers need nearly 323,000 valid signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot.

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The California chapter of the NAACP is announcing its support for a marijuana legalization ballot measure, saying current laws unfairly target people of color. The group plans to highlight findings at a news conference Tuesday that it says show young people of color have faced a lopsided number of arrests for low-level marijuana crimes. The measure on the November ballot would let adults possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Angered by a recent influx of Hispanic workers attracted by jobs at local meatpacking plants, voters in the eastern Nebraska city of Fremont will decide Monday whether to ban hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants. The vote will be the culmination of a two-year fight that saw proponents collect enough signatures to put the question to a public vote. If the ordinance is approved, the community of 25,000 people could face a long and costly court battle. Either way, the emotions stirred up won’t settle quickly.

The two proposed referendum drives challenging Arizona’s new sweeping law targeting illegal immigration are being abandoned, organizers said Monday. Andrew Chavez, a professional petition circulator involved in one of the efforts, said its backers pulled the plug after concluding they might not be able to time their petition filings in such a way as to put the law on hold pending a 2012 public vote.

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Gov. Chris Christie says initiative and referendum is something that could benefit New Jersey. During today’s “Ask the Governor” radio call-in show on New Jersey 101.5 FM, Christie said he thought the state could be a better place if it had I&R. Initiative and referendum allows citizens to use petitions to put issues on the ballot to be decided directly by voters.

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Michigan voters could decide whether to reduce automobile, home and business insurance premiums by 20 percent if a proposal qualifies for the 2010 statewide ballot. The form of a legislative initiative submitted by a group called Fair Affordable Insurance Rates was approved Monday by the Board of State Canvassers. Supporters still must collect more than 304,000 valid voter signatures and clear other procedural hurdles to put the measure on next November’s ballot.

Despite living in one of the nation’s most heavily taxed states, Maine voters on Tuesday soundly rejected proposals that would have reduced automobile excise taxes and put limits on future increases on state and local government spending and taxes. Mainers also approved a ballot question that expands the state’s medical marijuana law by allowing for retail dispensaries from which the drug can be distributed to patients.

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has temporarily blocked Washington state officials from releasing the names of people who signed a ballot measure on gay rights. Kennedy’s ruling Monday temporarily blocks a federal appeals court ruling last week that ordered the release of the names. Kennedy said his order would remain in effect while he considers a request by a pro-marriage group that asked him to reverse the appeals court ruling.

A judge on Tuesday refused to block a proposed ballot initiative on expanded domestic partnership benefits for gay couples in Washington state. An appeal was considered likely, however, with just a few days remaining before officials need to begin printing materials for the Nov. 3 general election. The case involves Referendum 71, which would put the Legislature’s latest expansion of domestic partnership rights for gay couples on the November ballot.