After 5:00 pm today, Albuquerque’s city clerk notified us that the city attorney today changed the qualification requirement for the marijuana ballot initiative after a Republican city councilor opposed to the measure asked him to reconsider his interpretation of the law.
From the ABQ Journal‘s first online report:
City Attorney David Tourek said Tuesday that the city made a mistake in calculating the number of signatures required to trigger an election. Supporters need 14,218 signatures, not 11,203, he said.
That’s based on turnout in a recent election.
The city clerk’s office made a mistake and a city attorney approved it, Tourek said. Assistant City Attorney Greg Wheeler said it was his mistake.
The City of Albuquerque originally told supporters they needed 11,203 signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. But after the campaign submitted more than 16,000 names yesterday, the city attorney today instructed the clerk that his office had “reread” the law and determined that more than 14,000 signatures were now required. The original 11,203 requirement had been certified by both the city clerk and city attorney’s office before being publicly announced in May. The city clerk told ProgressNowNM today that Republican City Councilor Don Harris asked the city attorney to review the process requirements.
Patrick Davis of ProgressNowNM:
“City hall should be above shenanigans like this. Petitioning our government is among the most basic rights of citizens and they have an obligation to get it right and play fair from beginning to end.
“The city attorney has not provided us with his new legal analysis, nor have we had a chance to review or challenge it. We’ll continue to move forward to resolve this issue while the clerk diligently works to qualify the measure.”