by Max Brantley
Today's the deadline (at close of business) for ballot petitions. The lottery petitions are already in. The anti-gay group hoping to limit all adoptions had previously said it would submit an amount nominally sufficient (it turned out to be about 65,000, with about 62,000 needed), though the number admittedly included many unacceptable signatures. Sounds like the anti-immigrant group may not make it, even with bogus signatures to give a fig leaf for the signature-gathering extension allowed by law.
Opponents of the anti-immigration effort say the expected failure of the drive amounts to a showing of the lack of enthusiasm in Arkansas for punitive measures against immigrants. I think it's more likely a showing of the disorganization, and at times, nuttiness, of the leaders of the anti-immigration effort. Whatever. It's a happy day if Arkansas won't have to fight that ugly fight this year.
Speaking of ugly fights: Here's some advice for the good Christian canvassers in the anti-adoption effort. Careful when you sign a document swearing that you witnessed a voter's signature. Words have meaning. Somebody might be checking your work.
UPDATED: It's official, Stephens Media reports. The immigration petition drive has been abandoned. Mexico may now annex Kansas City at its leisure. A drive to gather signatures on a proposal to give sheriffs four-year terms also failed.
SECRETARY OF STATE NEWS RELEASE
(LITTLE ROCK, AR)—By the close of business today, two sponsors of statewide ballot initiatives have submitted petitions to the Secretary of State’s office for verification.
The 2008 signature requirements for ballot issues are 77,468 for proposed constitutional amendments and 61,794 for initiated acts. The Secretary of State has 30 days from the date of submittal to verify signatures up to 10% above the required number.
If a petition is found not to contain the required number of valid signatures, the sponsor has 30 days from the date of notification of insufficiency to collect additional signatures or submit proof that rejected signatures should be counted. If the petition is determined to be sufficient, the statewide initiative will appear on the general election ballot on November 4.
Hope for Arkansas submitted petitions for a proposed constitutional amendment on June 26, 2008 to authorize the General Assembly to establish, operate, and regulate state lotteries to fund scholarships and grants for Arkansas citizens enrolled in certified two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas. The Secretary of State’s office is currently verifying the signatures on these petitions.
This afternoon, the Family Council Action Committee submitted petitions for an initiated act to provide that an individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old. Petition verification will commence following the completion of the first submitted proposal.
Sponsors of six other proposed ballot issues with approved popular names and ballot titles did not submit petitions by today’s deadline.
The full ballot titles of the proposed issues can be found at www.votenaturally.org.