Missouri officials try to change initiative petition process

jefferson city

Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s top election official is asking lawmakers to overhaul the initiative petition process by charging fees to file them and verifying collected signatures.

The Kansas City Star reports that the number of initiative petitions filed in the hopes of making it on the statewide ballot went from 15 a decade ago to 330 so far this year.

Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the process is getting out of hand and is dominated by special interests. He’s proposing a $500 fee to file an initiative petition and wants to collect a 40-cents-per-signature fee to help county clerks cover the administrative cost of verifying signatures.

Opponents such as labor unions see the proposed changes as an unconstitutional attempt to limit citizens’ ability to create change in state government.