Three volunteers paced outside the Boone County Courthouse on Feb. 25 trying to distinguish their petition from the other 357.
That is the overwhelming number of initiative petitions filed so far in the 2018 election cycle. About one-third of those have been approved for circulation. Many are medical marijuana petitions such as the one volunteers Martha Doney, Lance Lenao and Rita Yencarelli collected signatures for outside of the Dreamer Rally on Feb. 25. They gathered on behalf of New Approach Missouri — a campaign aiming to legalize medical cannabis.
To distinguish theirs from similar measures, Yencarelli routinely pointed out their petition taxes cannabis at 4 percent with excess proceeds going to the Missouri Veterans Commission.
“That’s the language you want to look for on the ballot,” she said.
And that’s the nature of petitions. It’s all about the details.
The initiative petition process allows citizens to partake in one of the most immediate forms of democracy by proposing to change statutory laws and/or the constitution. But it comes with many technicalities that can slow or stop a ballot initiative if they’re not paying close enough attention. Petitions can be rejected for formatting details such as not underlining the right words or having missing verbs.
“It has to be a passion for you,” Doney said, speaking to the amount of effort it takes to get just one petition