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July 31, 2014

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Angle petition has required signatures, faces a challenge

CARSON CITY – Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle’s tax-limiting petition has gathered the signatures required in all 17 counties to qualify for the ballot, but now faces a challenge to its legality.

Matt Griffin, deputy secretary of state in charge of elections, said the petition qualified in all the counties for the number of signatures in a count completed late today. But a teachers union representative says the petitions were not properly notarized and certified.

The Nevada State Education Association, in a challenge filed by its attorney James Penrose, says the petition is defective and must not appear on the ballot in November.

Griffin said Angle has until next Monday to file a response to the challenge. After that, Secretary of State Ross Miller will make a decision whether the initiative is legally qualified to appear on the ballot. And it could probably end up in court.

Angle could not be reached for comment.

Penrose said the petition was not properly certified by those who solicited the signatures. In Clark County, he said 4,992 signatures should be disqualified. He said the petition only exceeded the number required in that county by about 200 signatures.

Former Assemblyman Don Gustavson, who joined with Angle in pushing for the petition, said this was the first he has heard about the challenge filed Friday.

“We will fight it, of course,” said Gustavson, who said he was confident there are adequate verified signatures of voters to qualify it for the ballot.

The Angle-Gustavson group said it collected more that 83,600 signatures, far more than the required 58,628 statewide. The petition also required a different percentage of signatures of voters in each county, depending on the turnout at the last election. It met that goal.

The petition would limit property taxes to 1 percent of the base value of the property pegged to fiscal 2003-2004. When the property is sold, the base value may be increased annually only by 2 percent or inflation, whichever is smaller.

Nevada law presently limits property taxes to increasing 3 percent a year.

Penrose said the association examined 1,045 pages of signatures in Clark County and found the affidavit of the circulator was not notarized on at least 832 pages. “In addition, the vast majority of these affidavits were not signed by the purported circulator or anyone else,” he said.

Most, if not all of these pages contained six or seven signatures, Penrose said. “Thus, at a minimum, approximately 4,992 signatures out of 6,270 signatures in the attached documents were not attested to under oath as required by Nevada law, he said.

He said the same defects were found on the petition in Carson City. Of the 330 pages of signatures, 71 were not properly signed or notarized. Therefore, 518 signatures of the 2,061 submitted must be eliminated.

This petition has also drawn opposition from the Nevada State AFL-CIO.

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