by Max Brantley
The group that wants to make adoption and foster parenting in Arkansas more difficult (and punish gay people in the process) has announced that it has enough signatures to qualify for an extension in signature gathering for its proposed initiated act.
This is to say that, with almost 62,000 signatures needed, the group has obtained that many, but knows that many will be disallowed, either as improperly gathered or not those of registered voters. Every signature must be individually witnessed. A petition can't be left in a church vestibule for unmonitored signatures, for example.
Petitioners were out in force in churches Sunday. Some pastors, such as at Little Rock's predominantly black and powerful St. Mark's Baptist, urged people in the audience to sign up.
I anticipate a vigorous review of the signatures.
Release on the jump.
ARKANSAS FAMILY COUNCIL NEWS RELEASE
We'll qualify for extended deadline to collect more valid signatures
We’re almost there, but we still don’t quite have enough VALID signatures to place the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act on the ballot. We’ve gathered a little over 62,000 signatures, but that won’t be enough once the Secretary of State checks them. The good news is that we have now earned the right to continue gathering petition signatures until around August 12th. ("Valid" means currently registered Arkansas voter).
As you may know, we need at least 61,974 valid signatures of Arkansas voters in order to place the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act on the ballot this November. The key is the signatures must be verified and ruled valid by the Secretary of State.
Even though we’ve gathered a little over the required 61,974 signatures, we can expect the Secretary of State to disqualify about 10,000 – 15,000 of those signatures. But, because we’ve reached that minimum number of signatures, we now have earned the right to continue gathering signatures during a supplemental filing period that will end around August 12th. The filing period ends 30 days after the Secretary of State finishes checking the petitions we turn in on July 7th. As soon as our petitions are checked by the Secretary of State, he will give us a firm deadline for turning in our final round of signatures.
This means our petition drive is going into overtime. We’re going to continue gathering signatures until we gather enough to qualify the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act for the November ballot. But, one way or the other, this petition drive will end at the close of the supplemental filing period around August 12th.
Please do three things:
1. Mail any petitions you already have before July 4th. This way we will have them before the July 7th deadline.
2. Don’t stop gathering signatures. Continue gathering signatures now for the supplemental filing period and plan on sending those signatures in by around August 12th. You can download the petition at: www.ArkansasAdoptionAct.com
3. Tell your friends not to throw their petitions away. Signatures gathered before the July 7th deadline can be filed during the supplemental filing period.
Response from churches has improved considerably. This petition drive has momentum, and I believe, by God’s grace and with lots of hard work, we’re going to put this measure on the ballot and see it passed in November.
We’ve worked too hard to stop now. Please continue to help us complete this task and win this battle. Call us if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you.