The secretary of state’s office announced Wednesday that 17,000 supporters of recreational marijuana will be excluded from a petition to legalize the drug due to a handwriting technicality. These signatures failed to match up with signatures on state record, and therefore will not be included.
David Boyer, director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Maine, said they plan to fight the ruling and are currently exploring legal options.
“Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary — whose notary commission has not expired — did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary,” Boyer said.
The petition circulated was designed to support an act to legalize recreational marijuana statewide. There were 99,229 signatures collected and submitted to the state, but only 51,543 were validated. The statutory threshold requires 61,123 valid signatures for the measure to appear on a November ballot.
The ruling can be appealed within 10 business days, otherwise they have until April 23 to collect more signatures to satisfy the requirement. The deadline for this year’s ballot already passed Feb. 1 so the group will adjust their goal for the measure to appear on the 2017 ballot.
Not all signatures were deemed invalid due to handwriting mismatch. There were 13,525 signatures that did not belong to registered Maine voters, and the rest were invalidated due to paperwork error that prevented a successful signature match. To read more information about the case, see the full article.
Collegian Green Report Blogger Veronica Baas can be reached online at email@example.com or on Twitter @vcbaas.