The signatures are still being counted, but supporters of Legal Missouri 2022, a campaign to legalize recreational use of marijuana, remain confident they have enough signatures to get their issue on November election ballots.
On May 8, the group submitted nearly 400,000 signatures to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office, which are currently going through a one-by-one verification process, with signatures on each petition page eing checked against voter rolls by local clerks and election authorities.
The process must be completed by the second week of August.
Legal Missouri has not been alerted to any potential shortfalls among the almost 400,000 signatures it submitted, Dan Viets, LegalMo22 advisory board chairman, said Thursday.
“We don’t think there is any reason to doubt we have sufficient signatures,” Viets said.
A proposal that would bring ranked-choice voting to Missouri as part of the biggest change in state elections since the introduction of the partisan primary may not have enough signatures to make the November ballot.
The constitutional amendment proposed by Better Elections needed at least 171,592 signatures, properly distributed among six of the state’s eight congressional districts, to qualify for the ballot. Despite turning in what the campaign said was more than 300,000 signatures, it may fall short, spokesman Scott Charton said Thursday.
Legal Missouri spent approximately $3.6 million on its signature effort, which began later than the Better Elections signature process. Better Elections has raised at least $6.8 million, reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show, and it spent $2.3 million for the services of FieldWorks LLC, to gather the signatures.
Legal Missouri, after consultation with Better Elections, decided to hire the same firm for efficiency and cost-savings, Viets said. The campaigns targeted the same six congressional districts, opting not to gather heavily in two mostly rural districts, the 4th District in west-central Missouri and the 8th District in southeast Missouri.
One difference between the two campaigns, Viets said, was that Legal Missouri had the support of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuanal Laws, or NORML, and other pro-legalization volunteers.
“A big chunk of our signatures were gathered by volunteers for the campaign,” Viets said.
Legal Missouri campaign manager John Payne also said there are no issues with the group’s petition.
The campaign submitted twice as many signatures as needed, Payne said.
“With such tremendous support from across Missouri, we’re confident that our petition language will soon be certified for the November general election ballot,” he said.Leg