Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2003

County official reviewing laws on petitions

Concerns arise on signatures protesting Sunday liquor sales

November 5, 2003

Carol Bradbury was busy last month collecting signatures.

But she may not have collected enough.

When the Tonganoxie City Council approved Sunday liquor sales in September, Bradbury gathered autographs and addresses for a protest petition.

On Friday, Bradbury submitted a petition to Tonganoxie City Hall with what she thought were enough signatures.

Assistant city administrator Kathy Bard then sent Bradbury's petition to Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer.

But with 40 valid signatures, the petition may not be sufficient to force the city council to reconsider the issue. Bradbury's petition actually contained more than 40 signatures, but only 40 were deemed valid.

For a petition to be legitimate, it must have a number of signatures equal to 10 percent of number of voters in the previous election, according to state statute.

Bard said she originally thought 42 signatures would be required, but she mistakenly had referred to mayoral votes, which neared 420.

However, some voters didn't cast ballots in the mayoral race, so the actual voter turnout roughly was 480. And that would mean 48 signatures would be required for a valid protest petition over the Sunday liquor sales issue.

Because of the discrepancy, Scheer said late Tuesday afternoon that the signatures had been checked, but nothing would be certified.

"I wanted to visit with the county counselor," she said. "I wanted to run a few things by him to decide what statutes were saying.

"I haven't certified anything to Kathy. We've checked signatures, but from there on I wanted to visit with him on several other issues on the petition."

A few people have come to City Hall for information on compiling a petition, but Bard said Bradbury was the only person to submit a petition. The deadline for submitting a petition is 4:30 p.m. Nov. 24.

Bradbury said finding signatures wasn't difficult, but many people who lived in the country wanted to sign. However, only residents within the city limits could be on the petition.

"I've done other petition work when I lived in Illinois, so I knew the process," Bradbury said. "The problem was so many people lived in the country, but they couldn't sign."

Still, Bradbury found 40 signatures.

"There was no problem getting signatures on it," she said.

Others have started petitions, but Bradbury said she just happened to submit hers first. Originally, she brought a document to city hall Oct. 16, but it did not have more than 40 signatures. Bard said there needed to be the required amount on one petition, and petitions can't be added together.

"The more we have signing, the better," Bradbury said. "I think we want to send a message that we don't want this. It's too nice of a town."

And, according to Bradbury, legalizing Sunday sales is another mistake for the state.

"I think Kansas has gone a long way down the drain with first liquor by the drink, then the lottery and the casinos and now liquor sales. And it's all in the name of greed."

If a valid protest petition is submitted, the city council must decide whether to reverse its decision or whether it's worth holding a special election on the issue.

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