The group wanting to put a tobacco tax increase on the ballot in November will ask a judge tomorrow to overturn the Secretary of State’s rejection of its petitions. The Secretary of State says ten-thousand signatures from the fifth congressional district–Kansas City—are not valid and that means the effort to put a big tax on tobacco products on the ballot has failed. Spokesman Cindy Erickson with Citizens for a Healthy Future says the group cannot accept that decision. The Secretary of State’s ruling, based on checks by Jackson County’s election authority, has left the campaign 274 signatures short in that district. Erickson says her group has inspected the rejected signatures…and believes it can identify enough valid ones to make the ballot. She’s not pointing any fingers. She says election officials had so many signatures to check on so many petitions that some mistakes were made in the counting. It will take a judge’s order to validate the needed signatures. The group wants to increase cigarette taxes by 80 cents a pack…and increase taxes on other tobacco products by 20 percent. The money would increase healthcare funding for low-income people and medicaid recipients.
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