Great news: Montana’s Attorney General and Secretary of State have approved the petition to block SB-423 and refer it to a vote of the people in 2012.
Signature gathering will not begin immediately. A few years back, the process of collecting signatures became a lot more complicated (28-page PDF).
- Signature gatherers must be Montana residents
- Signature gatherers may not be paid anything of value based on the number of signatures gathered
- Each printed petition belongs to a specific gatherer — you cannot leave the clipboard lying around for people to sign
- The gatherer must be present when the voter signs
- The signer must be registered to vote at their current physical address
- The gatherer must sign an affidavit swearing that each signer to each petition sheet provided a valid signature and understood the contents of the petition
- Affidavits must be notarized by a licensed notary public
- Signatures must be gathered by the county of residence of the signer
This is a just a portion of the rules; it’s complicated. There’s even a special complaint form for people to report violations, and any inappropriate behavior by signature gatherers. We can expect our opponents to be submitting a few of these. Expect lawsuits, too.
The good news is we have until September to collect the signatures needed. If you would like to help you must register here.
There’s no doubt that we will collect a sufficient number of signatures; we have an army of people ready to sign and ready to help. But any misstep during the process could be fatal, and cause thousands of otherwise-valid signatures to be ruled invalid!
So, sign up for training, stay tuned, and cross your fingers for a favorable decision from the judge in the next 45 hours.