A judge in Jefferson City has thrown out both lawsuits filed by a group trying to force two issues onto the November ballot despite shortcomings in the way the petitions were filed with the Secretary of State. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan refused to begin the process of verifying signatures, citing numerous violations of the law on initiative petitions. Judge Richard Callahan says the group “Missourians in Charge” filed petitions seeking a vote on an eminent domain proposal that were not presented properly under state law. The judge’s ruling says every petition page presented to potential signers contained an unfair and in sufficient ballot title and that the group intentionally submitted more than 950 petition pages it knew did not comply with the law. The ruling also says the group failed to identify the constititional violations it claims occurred when the Secretary of State refused to send petitions out for certification of signatures. Earlier today, Callahan issued a similar ruling on the group’s petitions seeking a vote on greater limitations on state government spending. In that suit, Missourians in Charge had also argued that Secretary of State Robin Carnahan had no authority to throw out its petitions. Carnahan ruled the petitions didn’t meet state requirements, because four of the 12 boxes of signatures submitted were not numbered as required by law. The group claimed it was a clerical error that should be overlooked. Callahan says the failure was more than a clerical error. He says the Secretary of State had no discretion in declaring the entire petition insufficient, ruling the group didn’t comply with state law and could not justify filing inadequately presented petitions simply because it ran out of time.
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