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For immediate release: Contact: Ben Kiser
Friday, August 16, 2002 (402) 471-8675

Gambling Petition Reaches Signature Threshold

Lincoln--Secretary of State John Gale announced today that the initiative petition filed by the Committee for Local Option Gaming has reached the constitutional threshold of signatures to make the November 5, 2002 general election ballot. To date county election officials have verified 125,965 signatures, including at least 5% of the registered voters in 59 counties.

"The constitutional standards for signatures have been met," said Secretary Gale. "Depending on the outcome of the litigation currently in the judicial process, I will certify this measure on the general election ballot on September 13."

According to the Nebraska Constitution, an initiative to propose a constitutional amendment has two thresholds to meet to be placed on the ballot. First, it must receive the signatures of at least 109,310 or 10% of the state’s registered voters statewide, and second, of these signatures there must be at least 5% of the registered voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties.

Local election officials have so far reviewed 174,876 signatures, and of these, 125,965 or 72% were valid and 48,911 were rejected for various reasons. Not being a registered voter as of July 5, 2002 was a common reason to throw out a signature.

Three counties Dawson, Merrick, and Thomas are still verifying petition signatures. Counties have 40 days from the day they receive the petitions from the Secretary of State’s office to complete the verification process and return them. For unusual circumstances, the Secretary of State can grant an additional 10 days to a county to verify signatures.