All Montana Citizen’s Initiatives Have Very Few Signatures, Deadline is This Friday
Those hoping to change Montana’s laws through citizen initiatives have a pretty steep hill to climb before this Friday, when signatures must be submitted to the various counties. Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch says that her office has been pretty quiet despite the onrushing deadline.
"We've approved 12 signature petitions for gathering signatures and of those 12 only three have come into our office and there's less than 1,500 signatures for all three of those, so it's moving real slow," McCulloch said.
1,500 might sound like a lot, but 24,000 signatures are required for a statutory change and over 48,000 for a constitutional change. Furthermore, that 1,500 is shared between the three petitions submitted. So far, an initiative to limit trapping on public lands has the most signatures, but it only has 800. An initiative to expand Medicaid in Montana only has 150 signatures at this point, despite being a campaign issue emphasized by many democrats statewide.
McCulloch said it is possible that people have more signatures, but are just waiting till the final day to submit those signatures to the counties. She also said the counties usually submit the signatures as soon as they get them. Once the Friday deadline is reached, the counties will then have a month to forward the signatures to the Secretary of State's office.