PORTLAND – Petitioners seeking to grant voting rights to noncitizens have a 10-day grace period to get more signatures after the City Clerk’s Office found nearly 900 invalid signatures on submitted petitions.

To get their proposal on the ballot, petitioners need at least 4,487 valid signatures. On July 14, they submitted 5,110 signatures. But the City Clerk’s Office found only 4,224 were valid.

Many of the invalid signatures are from people who live outside Portland, said City Clerk Linda Cohen.

In addition, many people signed a petition twice or their signatures were illegible, said Will Everitt of the League of Young Voters, which is leading the petition drive.

But the effort is not over. State law provides petitioners an extra 10 days to gather the required valid signatures. To get on the ballot, the petitioners now need an additional 263.

Everitt said the league took out new papers Thursday and has until Aug. 9 to get the new signatures to the clerk’s office.

Petitioners will be attending public events, such as farmers markets, the Festival of Nations, the First Friday Arts Walk and summer concerts on the Western Promenade, he said. With so many summer activities, Everitt is confident the group will gather enough signatures.

“It’s kind of good, even though it’s sudden-death overtime,” he said.

Cohen said the biggest obstacle is that the pool of people who have yet to sign the petitions has gotten smaller.

“It’s going to be a little harder for them to do it now, but they can probably do it,” she said.

The ballot initiative would only give voting rights to noncitizens who can prove they are legal residents. Noncitizens would not be allowed to vote in state or federal elections.

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

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