Ballot petitioners give it another try |

Ballot petitioners give it another try

The second round of signature gathering by an anti-rail group may be enough to force a vote in Aspen on rail funding this fall.

The petitions are part of an effort by Aspen City Councilmen Tony Hershey and Tom McCabe to keep their campaign promises to put the issue before the voters.

After the two freshman councilmen failed to convince the Aspen City Council to endorse a ballot question, they organized a committee to gather enough signatures – 806 – from registered voters to put a citizens initiative on the ballot.

Last week, the group turned in 871 signatures, but nearly 200 of them were disqualified by Aspen City Clerk Kathryn Koch, because they were not from registered city voters. In all, the petition fell short by 120 signatures.

The group was given until yesterday to “cure” their petition by gathering more signatures. Hershey said the group managed to gather an additional 216 signatures before the deadline.

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Koch will go through the latest submission to make sure the group has enough signatures. The count is expected to be finished by Monday, so the City Council has a chance to either lend its support to the initiative or reiterate its opposition. Even without support from the full council, if the initiative contains enough valid signatures, it will appear on the fall ballot.

“I’m confident we have more than enough valid signatures, but until Kathryn verifies them, we won’t know for sure,” Hershey said.

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