Sunday, January 15, 2006

TABOR Opponents Challenging the Petitions [UPDATED]

Word comes that the next front in the battle against TABOR (a constitutional amendment to shackle growth in government spending to an artificially low rate) is challenging the petitions collected to put it on the ballot. TABOR supporters filed only about 1300 extra signatures. Generally the ballot campaigns I've been involved with shot for 10-25 percent overage. 1300 would represent less than one percent.

Apparently some of the paid petition circulators didn't fill out the validation forms correctly. TABOR opponents are looking for volunteers to go through the petitions and find undotted i's and uncrossed t's.

The thin margin of success in the petition drive may have been one factor that scared Blackwell off the front lines. Recall that, by all appearances, Blackwell's plan was to raise his profile by campaigning for TABOR last fall to prime the GOP faithful for his primary campaign. It seemed that the Blackwell-orchestrated decision to file a day late, ensuring that the issue would be on this year's ballot, not last year's, was borne of a desire to avoid campaigning with a mouldering TABOR albatross necklace. But the lack of confidence was puzzling. Sure, some early polling didn't give TABOR much room to fall, but other poll results were sunnier.

Perhaps he wanted to distance himself from the issue when he saw how close the signature count was. Under this scenario, he saw that they didn't have enough signatures to cover the shrinkage that CW says you always have. (Dick Tracy doesn't just register to vote; he also signs petitions for paid circulators.) He didn't want the issue to crater immediately on the heels of his enthusiastic endorsement. So he bought himself some time to move away from TABOR and maybe find a new issue to champion.

Blackwell still has to face up to this if the issue does indeed get scotched. And he will have to deal with the unlovely picture of his office passing judgement on the viability of his baby his redhedded stepchild.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in helping with the effort, get in touch with Organize! Ohio which is coordinating the NEO volunteers.

UPDATE: The first couple of action alerts I got on this were misleading. Apparently, TABOR supporters managed to collect about 500,000 signatures, but with a shrinkage rate of 36% once the Secretary of State's office went through them. So now they are above the threshold by less than 1300 signatures.