State of Jefferson question likely won’t make cut for June ballot
A local push to get a question on the June ballot about whether Nevada County should join the State of Jefferson likely has been delayed until November because supporters failed to get enough signatures to satisfy legal requirements.
Nevada County elections officials say the non-binding measure didn’t pass an initial, 500-signature verification process. That means the elections office now must check thousands of signatures on a petition that has more than 5,000 names.
Sandra Sjoberg, assistant county clerk-recorder/registrar of voters, said it’s unlikely her office can check all those signatures before a deadline to place it on the June ballot.
“I don’t see that it’s going to, unless something miraculous happens,” she said.
According to officials, 377 names out of the 500 random signatures selected were valid. Additionally, three of the 500 signatures were duplicates.
Those duplicates, as well as the number of valid signatures, affect the mathematical formula used by elections software. That software predicted only 3,672 out of a target 3,840 signatures would be valid, or 95.6 percent.
The 95.6 percent isn’t enough to avoid a full count of all signatures.
“It’s sort of strange,” said Eddie Garcia, a Jefferson supporter who delivered the petition to the elections office. “It just doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s what the election code says.”
Verifying thousands of names on the petition will extend the process of putting the issue on the ballot. The Board of Supervisors must give at least two weeks notice before it calls for an election on the measure. The board also must vote on calling that election at least 88 days before the June 7 primary.
That gives elections officials two weeks to verify 3,840 signatures, provide the two-week notice and then have the board vote.
“At this point I don’t see any way of it making June,” Sjoberg said.
The ballot measure would ask Nevada County voters if they support leaving California to form a new state. It would have no power if approved at the polls. Instead, Jefferson supporters hope a win would lead the Board of Supervisors to approve a resolution in favor of the new state.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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