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Pot Ballot Initiative Supporters: Rejected Signatures "Defy the Odds"

David Boyer, right, with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, says a ruling rejecting tens of thousands of ballot petition signatures defies the odds, and his group will appeal. (RMLA)
David Boyer, right, with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, says a ruling rejecting tens of thousands of ballot petition signatures defies the odds, and his group will appeal. (RMLA)
March 4, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine - Supporters of a ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana are busy building their legal challenge to the Secretary of State's finding that their drive fell 10,000 signatures short.

David Boyer, who leads the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said tens of thousands of signatures of Maine registered voters were rejected by the secretary of state because those signatures had been verified by a notary whose signature did not match the one on file. Boyer said it simply defies the odds that so many signatures were thrown out involving the same notary.

"This notary notarized more than 5,000 petitions, and they are saying not one of his signatures matched the signature on file," Boyer said. "Zero in 5,000, that's pretty spectacular odds that he couldn't manage to match his signature once, so we're going to look into this."

Supporters turned in more than 100,000 signatures last month to meet the legal requirement of slightly more than 61,000, but the Secretary of State this week rejected 31,000 signatures because of the handwriting discrepancy involving notaries that witnessed the signature collection. Supporters of the initiative have just over a week remaining to file their legal challenge.

It is possible the courts could uphold the technicality, but Boyer said in his experience the courts tend to side with what he called the will of the people.

"That would give us enough signatures to make the ballot, so we're going to challenge this thing," he said. "We would certainly hope that 17,000 Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality."

The initiative calls for legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults in Maine. Currently, the secretary of state has recognized more than 51,000 signatures in support of the measure. Boyer said they believe there are more than enough signatures that can get restored through the legal process to put them over the top.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME