A California legal group is filing suit against the secretary of state for refusing to accept citizens' signatures for a ballot initiative.
Attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute filed a lawsuit against state and county officials who refused to accept signatures for the referendum against AB 1266.
The referendum would invalidate a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that allows public school students in grades K-12 to participate in sex-segregated activities and facilities. The law, known by its opponents as the "bathroom bill," is set to go into effect January 1.
The suit names Secretary of State Debra Bowen and the registrar of voters for Tulare and Mono counties.
Brad Dacus, president of PJI, says the law group is "committed to protecting every boy and girl attending school in California."
Privacy For All Students, the group behind the referendum, says Bowen is claiming that signatures for Tulare and Mono were submitted too late. Evidence filed in court, however, alleges that county officials did not process the signatures in time.
PJI claims that in Mono County, officials did not process signatures until after the deadline. In Tulare County, a mailroom clerk refused to sign and accept a package from a FedEx driver containing signatures after the office closed early for a three-day weekend.
The California Constitution allows voters 90 days to hand in signatures after legislation is passed. In a press release, PJI claims packages containing the signatures were presented in the two counties on the 88th and 89th days.
Court papers also document that a PJI attorney made arrangements for 18 counties to open on the 90th day in order to collect boxes of signatures.
PJI attorneys filed suit in Sacramento "in order to reverse the Secretary of State's decision and to make sure that all of these valid signatures are counted," says Dacus.