In the United States, it seems there is almost an infinity of reasons why petitions can be challenged. States that require petition sheets to be notarized open the doors for additional types of challenges. Determined challengers may realize that the petition itself has enough signatures of registered voters, so then the challengers try to find something wrong with the paperwork involving notarization.
A group in Maine recently submitted 56,107 valid signatures, to force a referendum on a tax overhaul that the legislature passed earlier this year. Opponents of the referendum petition say that it should not be on the ballot, because at least two of the notaries public who notarized certain sheets got married, and didn’t ever notify the state office that keeps tabs on notaries that their surnames had changed. Because the Secretary of State certified the petition anyway, one challenger sued the Secretary of State to remove the referendum. The lawsuit is Johnson v Dunlap, Kennebec Superior Court, AP 09-56. The case will probably be decided by January 1, 2010.