Nebraska’s threshold for placing initiatives and referendums on the ballot violates the Firsts Amendment in giving preference to voters in rural counties, a federal judge ruled.

At issue is a stipulation in the Nebraska Constitution that requires petitioners to acquire signatures from “5 percent of the registered voters of each of two-fifths of the counties of the state.”

According to this math, an initiative or referendum petition must be circulated in at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

Plaintiff Kent Bernbeck, took issue with the requirement on the grounds of free speech and equal protection.

Read more: Here

A petition circulating throughout Orem carries legal responsibilities that those signing it may not fully understand.

Just this year, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, and Rep. Jon Stanard, R-St. George, sponsored an addendum to state code concerning petitions and the people who sign them. Gov. Gary Herbert signed it into law in April.

The bill added the inclusion of a statement to a statewide or local initiative petition signature sheet stating that a signer has read and understands the law proposed by the petition. It also adds a statement to a statewide or local referendum petition signature sheet stating that a signer has read and understands the law the petition seeks to overturn. The bill also made some technical corrections.

In the last week, calls for citizens to have the right to initiative and referendum have been heard loud and clear in New Jersey and South Carolina.

In tackling the issue of marijuana legalization, New Jersey Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine longs for a way voters can decide, writing “if only we had I&R here in New Jersey.”

He’s not sure Colorado voters got it right in legalizing pot, but notes, “Polls show Coloradans are evenly divided on legalization - as are New Jersey voters. The difference is that there they can gather signatures to reverse it if they so desire. Here we’re stuck with whatever the politicians hand us.”

A City Council committee Monday approved allowing more time to gather signatures for a recall election and widening the window during which a special election would be held.

The recommendations green-lighted by the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and sent to the City Council for its consideration are part of a larger effort to streamline the recall process, stemming from last year’s effort to remove then-Mayor Bob Filner from office.

“This is something we’ve been cleaning up over the last year bit-by-bit,” Councilman Mark Kersey said. The Filner recall effort revealed “inconsistencies in the city’s own rules,” he said.

Just one California

Mon, Sep 15 2014 by Neal Hobson

It seems for now, California will have to stay as a singular state.

Venture capitalist Tim Draper’s multi-million dollar “Six Californias” initiative failed to gather enough valid signatures, according to the California Secretary of State. The initiative would have begun the process to create six separate states out of California, giving 38 million Californians new, smaller state governments and economies.

Draper contests the findings of the Secretary of State, however. 

“Six Californias collected more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot and we are confident that a full check of the signatures would confirm that fact,” said Draper in a statement.

The effort to force Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz into a recall election failed to gather enough signatures.

It was always a long shot, given that roughly 82,400 signatures were required. By contrast, it takes only about 14,000 signatures to propose legislation in Albuquerque through a petition initiative.

George Richmond, who describes himself as a good-government activist, said he collected fewer than 5,000 signatures.

He did succeed, of course, in calling attention to problems within the treasurer’s office.

Read More: here

More than 69,000 additional signatures supporting the increase were delivered to the capitol building Monday.  That’s about 7,000 signatures more than needed to make it to the November ballot.

The proposal would raise Arkansas’ minimum hourly pay from $6.25 an hour to $7.50 on January first next year.  Then it goes to $8.00 flat in 2016 and up to $8.50 in 2017.

After failing in Albuquerque, two groups promoting a ballot initiative to reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana appear likely to succeed in Santa Fe.

City Clerk Yolanda Vigil said Wednesday that ProgressNow New Mexico and Drug Policy Alliance are “extremely close” to getting the required number of valid petition signatures to force a vote on the issue.

The groups came up short in their initial attempt to get the initiative on the November general election ballot when they submitted 7,126 signatures July 15. Only 3,569 of those signatures were found to be valid, and the groups need at least 5,673 signatures from registered voters in the city to qualify.

Oklahomans for Health must submit their initiative petition on medical marijuana to the Oklahoma Secretary of State by Friday. The group said late last week it had 120,000 of the 156,000 signatures to bring the initiative to a vote of the people.

The group claims to have registered a “record number” of new voters while gathering signatures.

Read More: here

Proponents for six ballot initiatives submitted petitions to the Colorado secretary of state Monday — the final day petitioners could submit them — though four of the measures could be retracted following announcements by Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.

Hickenlooper and Polis on Monday morning dropped their support of two initiatives meant to restrict oil and gas operations and asked that two initiatives supporting the industry be rescinded as well. The Democrats proposed that instead, a panel of experts develop ideas for the state legislature in hopes of creating future legislation.

The signatures for all six initiatives were submitted by organizers who hope to have their proposals added as ballot measures for the November election.

Freshmen Rep. Jeramey Anderson, who represents District 110 in the Mississippi Legislature, rallied his troops Saturday morning to garner signatures for a petition to support Initiative Measure No. 42, which would more adequately fund the state’s free public school system.

With the help of the Better Schools, Better Jobs Campaign, Initiative Measure 42 is aiming to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Similar signup drives are being held in other parts of the state.

Workers stood with placards from 9 a.m. until noon in front of the Scruggs Building, calling attention to the signup drive being conducted on the front porch and inside the facility.

Michigan’s State Board of Canvassers voted not to certify an initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage for placement on this November’s election ballot.

The group Raise Michigan turned in 318,425 signatures on petitions, needing 258,088 to be verified as those of registered voters in the Wolverine State.  The group just edged over that goal under the scrutiny of the Secretary of State’s office with 259,756 verified signatures, just 1,578 more than necessary.

By a 3-1 vote, the state Board of Canvassers failed to certify a petition that would put the issue of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on the November ballot.

Three members — Chairwoman Colleen Pero and Norm Shinkle, both Republican appointees, and Jeannette Bradshaw, a Democratic appointee — voted against certification because they said it fell about 3,900 signatures short of the required number to qualify for the ballot.

That determination came after a challenge to the petition, which was turned in Wednesday — the deadline for challenges was July 11 — found enough duplicate signatures in the petition to knock it off the ballot.

It’s already very clear that Colorado’s 2014 election is going to be epic. What’s unknown at this point though is just how epic it will be.

We know about the race for the U.S. Senate bringing in millions of dollars of campaign funds. And we know the races for Governor and for Congress in the 6th CD will be among the most competitive races in the country, bringing in their own millions.

But while it is expected that the battle over fracking bans and regulations will only add to this mess, we truly do not know to what extent.

Even after the petition submission deadline dates for many states have passed, efforts are underway to collect signatures for the 2015 ballot and beyond.  In Ohio, a green energy initiative was given the go-ahead to begin gathering signatures to place a series of clean energy proposals on the ballot in 2015.

Now that the Ohio Ballot Board has approved the language, the group Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future needs to collect at least 385,000 verified voter signatures in the Buckeye State to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot next year.  The proposed amendment would spend $1.3 billion each year improving infrastructure and developing  clean energy sources such as geothermal and solar.