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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Supervisors Seek Additional Time to Validate Signatures

September 06, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Supervisors will seek a new state law to give county officials more time to determine if proposed initiatives have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The motion by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, which passed without discussion Tuesday, comes after a ballot initiative to limit the terms of county supervisors was improperly disqualified from the November ballot.

Term limit proponents submitted 300,000 signatures to the county registrar-recorder's office in June, but county officials said a round-the-clock effort to check them all before the August deadline could only vouch for the authenticity of a thousand fewer than the 197,000 needed to place an initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative's backers did their own count and found they had sufficient signatures, which county officials acknowledged. But it was too late to place the measure on the ballot, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled.

Term limit proponents charged that supervisors, all of whom opposed the proposed initiative, plotted to keep the measure off the ballot.

But county officials say the problem is the narrow window of time they are allowed to check initiative petitions.

Under Tuesday's motion, the county will seek a legislator to sponsor a bill making the deadlines for county initiatives the same as those for state initiatives, which would provide more time to accurately count signatures.

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