Petty Petition Preventing
Richard Winger at Ballot Access News uses a situation in Maine to make a great point about the many and often absurd reasons that petition signatures can be challenged around the country:
In the United States, it seems there is almost an infinity of reasons why petitions can be challenged. States that require petition sheets to be notarized open the doors for additional types of challenges. Determined challengers may realize that the petition itself has enough signatures of registered voters, so then the challengers try to find something wrong with the paperwork involving notarization.
What the marital status of a notary public has to do with whether the individual voters on that sheet actually signed their name to have it count toward that petition is beyond me. Oftentimes when groups or individuals opposed to a certain initiative think that they will lose at the ballot box, they resort to a series of petty legal tricks they think will get the petition disqualified by throwing off enough signatures.
This happens often with petitions on issues that are popular with the public but not with special interests and politicians - such as term limits, land use and zoning approval, cutting state spending or taxes, election reform and ending corporate welfare. Not wanting the public to get a chance to make their voice heard by voting on an issue with popular support - and actively working to prevent them from doing so, is anti-democratic. It says a lot more (and none of it good) about those who are challenging petition signatures than it does about the people who collected them.