A taxpayer bill of rights initiative petition could have 120,000 invalid signatures on it, an attorney for a group challenging the proposal said Thursday. To disqualify the proposal, the group must show that close to 80,000 signatures gathered on the issue are invalid, attorney Kent Meyers told Supreme Court Referee Greg Albert Thursday. Close to 300,000 signatures were collected by Oklahomans in Action in their petition drive on State Question 726, commonly called TABOR (taxpayer bill of rights). The group needed only 219,000 valid signatures to get the measure on the election ballot if it clears other legal hurdles. The proposal would restrict state government spending increases based on a formula of inflation increases and population growth. Meyers and other attorneys represent a group of petition challengers who include several bankers, businessmen and a former Republican attorney general. Hearings on the challenge opened Thursday before Albert. Meyers said challengers will show that thousands of people who signed the petition were not registered to vote in Oklahoma and therefore ineligible to sign the document. Many of the petitions were circulated by people who were ineligible because they were from out of state and not Oklahoma residents or voters, Meyers said. Some of those circulators registered in Oklahoma motels but gave their address as another state, he said. Other circulators used addresses that turned out to be a hotel, he said. Some also listed motels as their address, but the motels had no record they ever stayed there, he said. Kieran D. Maye Jr., one of the attorneys for the promoters of the proposal, said the challengers won't be able to knock out enough signatures. He told Albert the Supreme Court has said that convincing evidence is required to disqualify a signature.
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