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Validity of STOP's arena petitions questioned

STOPs campaign to try to get the arena on the ballot could be in trouble.

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The path to a new downtown arena isn't set in stone yet, with one of the biggest obstacles remaining being a campaign to put the arena on the ballot.  That campaign is being pushed by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, otherwise known as STOP.

STOP submitted about 35,000 signatures to the county a couple weeks ago for validation and they need about 22,000 to get the measure approved.

However, new reports have surfaced today that indicate those signatures may be invalid.

From the Sacramento Bee:

In a Friday letter, Sean Welch, an attorney for the political group called The4000, said there are at least five versions of the petitions, each with slightly different wording. He contends that makes the signatures on at least some of those petitions invalid.

"It is the ministerial duty of elections officials to review each and every section of the petition to determine that the legal requirements of the Elections Code are met in each instance," Welch wrote. "If they are not, the election official is duty bound to reject the petition."

Basically, STOP collected signatures using multiple wordings on their petition (although the goal was clearly stated on each petition and the wording was similar).  Legally, all petitions should be exactly the same, which might mean some signatures will be invalidated or counted separately.  The petitions also don't include "enacting clauses" which the Bee notes are required by state law.  The County has separated the five different petitions and is asking the City Attorney to make a ruling on the matter.

Aaron Bruski, who first broke the news on Twitter, adds:

For what it's worth, STOP says they don't believe the wording is different enough to invalidate the signatures. We will see what the city attorney's decide soon enough and will be sure to keep you updated on any further developments.