Maine Marijuana Supporters to Sue Over Referendum Rejection
PORTLAND, Maine — Backers of a Maine marijuana initiative are filing a lawsuit that challenges the Secretary of State's decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.
More than 47,000 signatures were determined invalid, but only 17,000 of them are in contention. David Boyer, of the campaign that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana, says his organization did its due diligence.
"The circulators signed, the notary signed, the town clerk signed, and the Secretary of State should have signed," Boyer says, "because these are valid signatures that went through the process of checks and balances."
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced earlier this month that his office found irregularities in petition signatures.
Dunlap says those irregularities included signatures of notaries that didn't match signatures on file. Attorney Scott Anderson, of Verrill Dana, questions whether the Secretary of State's office fully examined each signature in question.
"They may have reviewed a subset of the petitions, and then identified several notaries, and then culled from the list of petitions all of the petitions notarized from those notaries, and then struck them all," Anderson says.
The Associated Press reports that the dispute centers on the signature of one notary, Stavros J. Mendros, a former lawmaker from Lewiston who was hired to help gather signatures.
His signature is at the bottom of petitions containing the disputed 17,000 signatures. If those signatures were deemed valid, it would be enough to put the measure on the state ballot.
The Superior Court must review the Secretary of State's determination and make a decision on the issue by mid-April.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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