Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists File Lawsuit Over Ballot Rules

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists File Lawsuit Over Ballot Rules
MJ moment

“Nebraska’s signature distribution requirement gives disproportionate influence to voters in sparsely populated counties.” By Cindy Gonzalez, Nebraska Examiner Supporters of medical marijuana in Nebraska have launched a legal challenge to the state’s requirement that 5 percent of registered voters in at least 38 counties sign a petition to get the measure before voters on the ballot. On Monday, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska in filing the federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The organizations requested a decision by July 7 on the constitutionality of the multicounty signature distribution requirement. They also requested a court order to suspend the requirement by that date, which is the deadline for petitioners to submit their collected signatures. ‘Disproportionate influence’ Under current state law, people or entities that want to try to add, change or repeal laws can do so by collecting a certain number of supportive signatures. In this case, they must get 87,000 for each of two related petitions. Petitioners must also meet a geographical requirement. Without 5 percent of registered voters in at least 38 counties represented (or two-fifths of the state’s 93 counties), the issue on the petition won’t make it on the ballot. The lawsuit argues that the multicounty distribution requirement is an unconstitutional roadblock that violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses. “Nebraska’s counties vary widely in population,” the lawsuit says. “As a result, Nebraska’s signature distribution requirement gives disproportionate influence to voters in sparsely populated counties.” Petition backers say, for example, that a single voter in Arthur County has about as much power as 1,216 Douglas County voters when it comes to influencing whether their respective counties will meet the signature threshold. That dilutes the votes…

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Source : Nebraska Medical Marijuana Activists File Lawsuit Over Ballot Rules

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