Anti-taxpayer funded ballpark petition falls short, organizers keep pushing

Published: Jun. 8, 2012 at 4:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2012 at 4:32 PM EDT
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© According to New Hanover County Elections Director Marvin McFadyen, the group was 14 names...
© According to New Hanover County Elections Director Marvin McFadyen, the group was 14 names under the required 2,842 signatures needed.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The group submitting petitions against a taxpayer funded baseball stadium is a little more than a dozen signatures shy of the number they needed to force city council members into taking action.

According to New Hanover County Elections Director Marvin McFadyen, the group was 14 names under the required 2,842 signatures needed.

While going through the hundreds of pages of the petition, several names appeared to have been signed more than once. McFayden said each resident can only sign their name one time.

"James Smith could have signed it Jim Smith, so we can't always verify solely on the name alone, and that's where we're gonna use data that's specific to the individual," said McFadyen.

Another problem backers of the petition faced were fictitious names or false signatures. One name signed on the petition that stuck out was former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Had he actually signed it, Santorum would not be eligible since the petition was only open to registered voters in Wilmington.

Even though there were not enough valid signatures for the petition, the process hasn't stopped. The group behind the petitions can continue its effort of collecting new names to add to what's already been verified.

"Until the agency that's in charge of this petition gives us an expiration or determination that they aren't going to accept any more petitions, then we'll keep the process open within my administration and not certify the results until we've reached that agreement with, in this case, the City of Wilmington," explained McFayden.

Organizers are confident they will be able to get more than 20 signatures to add to the list and then some, if needed.

"I think we're going to get it done soon," said petition organizer Josh Fulton. "I'm guessing Monday at the latest. I'll probably just drive right down there and drop some off. That could seal the deal right there."

City Attorney Bill Wolak said there's nothing in the City's charter that puts a time limit on submitting names for the petition. It is his understanding, according to the charter, the group can continue to add names for as long as they wish.

The issued would need to be certified by the city before August 1 to make the November ballot.

Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.