Two more anti-oil and gas initiatives got the green light to begin collecting the 120,000 plus signatures they need to qualify for the ballot this week, but whether or not they will be able to climb that mountain still remains in question.
In 2014, at least one of the anti-oil and gas measures fell short of the signatures it needed. And, so far, the activists behind the measures don’t appear to have engaged the services of a professional signature-gathering firm to help them. If they don’t go down the paid signature-gathering path it is going to drastically hurt their chances of actually qualifying for the November ballot.
Our guess is that they don’t currently have the cash on hand to foot the hefty bill for such an effort, which in this environment can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million. Given that there are only a handful of firms in the state that even do that kind of work, the high volume of initiatives trying to qualify for the ballot, and the fact that signatures are due August 8th – the cost to circulate petitions increases by the day.
According to the latest update from the Secretary of State’s Office (shout out to Lynn Bartels!), the following measures have had their petition formats approved for collecting signatures:
Local governance: No. 40
Iran divestment of public funds: No. 47
Independent Ethics Commission: No. 53
Voter registration: No. 57
Right to Healthy Environment: Initiative 63
Local government authority to regulate oil-and-gas development: Initiative 75
Mandatory setback for oil/gas development: No. 78
Beer and Wine in Grocery Stores: Nos. 104, 105 and 106
(Already on the ballot is Proposed Initiative 20 or State Health Care System.)
It also becomes difficult during a busy election year, especially with a high profile U.S. Senate campaign, to find people willing to work for free or very little – should any initiative try to get on with purely volunteer circulators. When given the choice, most young politicos would much prefer the excitement and comradery of a candidate campaign to the dull drums of an issue campaign.
What all this essentially means is that getting approved to collect signatures is a minor victory, and it doesn’t mean squat if the campaign can’t put up the resources to get it done.