The secretary of state's office reported last night that the proposed constitutional amendment to allow retail alcohol sales statewide had turned in more than 84,000 signatures, needing 78,133, to qualify for the November ballot. The office will move to the verification process to see how many are registered voters.
Meeting the initial count gives the drive, backed by retailers, 30 more days to gather additional signatures. CLARIFICATION: The 30 days begin when the secretary of state says that the drive is short of valid signatures. It does not begin with turning in of raw signatures.
No announcement yet on the drive for an initiated act to increase the minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017. It needs 62,507 signatures. Backers, supported by labor groups and the Democratic party, said they gathered more than 77,000 signatures, but checkers are working to verify that there are that many individual signatures. In past campaigns, abuses have occurred, such as somebody in the same hand writing in dozens of signatures, many obviously not genuine. Petitions can be disqualified — and get no additional time — for "facial" shortcomings such as these.