By Ethan Colbert
On Friday, Pike County Clerk Melissa Kempke announced that her office had completed the certification process for the Prop. 911 petition.
According to a previous Times article, petition organizers needed to collect more than 739 signatures in order to get Prop. 911 placed on the August 2018 ballot. Prop. 911 seeks to repeal the county’s existing landline telephone tax and replace it with a 9/16 of a one per cent sales tax.
If voters approve the sales tax in August, then an appointed board would serve from August until November. In November, a non-partisan seven member board would be elected.
The seven member board would be tasked with merging the county’s existing 911 dispatch operation into one centralized location.
In a one-on-one interview with the Bowling Green Times, Kempke said that her office had certified the signature of 1,271 qualified signatures, which is 532 more signatures than needed.
State law dictates the total number of required signatures is 10 percent of the number of Pike County voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. In this particular case, 7,389 Pike County residents voted in the 2016 gubernatorial election.
The county clerk said a qualified signature is a determined to be verified when information on the petition matches the address and signature of the Pike County resident on voter registration card on file with the county clerk’s office.
With regards to the signatures rejected by the county clerk and her staff, the majority of the rejected signatures were from not registered voters.
“We had a 120 people who were not registered voters sign the petition,” Kempke said. According to Kempke, this number is actually lower compared to other petitions that her office has worked to certify.
“These petitioners were much better at educating the people who were signing the petition about why they needed to be registered to vote to participate and have their signature count,” Kempke said.
The second most common cause for signatures to be rejected was due to the signature on the petition not matching the signature on the voter registration card.
“Most generally this is because they registered to vote when they were 18 and they are now 45 years old,” Kempke said. “Their signature has changed since then.”
According to Kempke, 105 signatures were rejected because they didn’t match.
Other rejected signatures were caused by addresses not matching, 6 signatures, and duplicate signatures, 13 signatures.
Kempke said it took her and three members of her staff working two days last week to certify the signatures.