Two petitions meet signature deadline

Signature pages are loaded onto carts at the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center just before Sunday afternoon's petition signature deadline.

Two initiatives met Sunday's 5 p.m. deadline for petitioners to turn in signatures to get on the 2014 ballot.

If the initiatives are certified, a process that will take several months, voters may be asked in November whether the state should allow early voting or tie teacher employment to students' performance.

Secretary of State Jason Kander told KRCG 13 the next step would be to sort the signature sheets and send them back out to local election authorities for verification of individual signatures.

"Not all states have a process like this where the citizens have the opportunity to directly petition to put a question on the ballot," he said.

Kander's office approved a total of 64 initiative petitions to be circulated. Those initiatives covered everything from eminent domain restrictions to changes to the tax structure. Seventeen different initiatives dealt with marijuana legalization, though none of them were turned in by Sunday evening.

Matt Dameron, who helped lead the early voting effort, told KRCG 13 it felt great to get all the signatures turned in.

"It's a Herculean task to get over 300,000 signatures and to meet the thresholds for getting on the ballot."

The teacher employment initiative would require teachers to be retained or dismissed based primarily on student performance data. Their pay would be tied to that data, and teachers would not be allowed to organize or collectively bargain concerning the development of those criteria. The early voting initiative would allow Missourians to vote up to six weeks prior to Election Day at a central polling location.

Kander said his office has until the primary elections on Aug. 5 to decide whether to certify the two initiatives to appear on the ballot.