PORTLAND – The City Council rejected a proposal Monday night that would have provided a 10-day extension for referendum petitioners who have too many signatures invalidated by the City Clerk’s Office.

The council voted 6-3 against the change. Councilors David Marshall, Kevin Donoghue and Jill Duson dissented.

The discussion arose this summer after Sensible Portland fell 93 votes short of getting a question on the Nov. 8 ballot that would have asked voters to make enforcement of marijuana laws a low priority.

But Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said Sensible Portland’s situation — it had hundreds of signatures invalidated because signers weren’t registered voters — was an anomaly.

The council debated the measure for about 45 minutes. Councilor David Marshall, who championed the change, said petitioners can’t always know who is and isn’t a registered Portland voter.

Plus, he said, the city should err toward letting proposals on the ballot, so voters can collectively decide their city’s fate.

According to one of the city’s lawyers, the change would have applied only to citizen initiatives — like the marijuana-enforcement issue — and citizen vetoes, which enable the public to potentially overturn a City Council decision if petitioners can gather 1,500 signatures in the 30 days after an ordinance is passed.

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be reached at 791-6437 or at: [email protected]