19-121.01. Secretary of state; removal of petition and ineligible signatures; sheets copies; random sample; presumption
A. Within twenty days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and other legal holidays, after the date of filing of an initiative or referendum petition and issuance of the receipt, the secretary of state shall:
1. Remove the following:
(a) Those sheets not attached to a copy of the complete title and text of the measure as prescribed in this chapter.
(b) The copy of the title and text from the remaining petition sheets.
(c) Those sheets not bearing the correct petition serial number in the lower right-hand corner of each side.
(d) Those sheets containing a circulator's affidavit that is not completed or signed or that has been modified.
(e) Those sheets on which the affidavit of the circulator is not notarized, the notary's signature is missing, the notary's commission has expired or the notary's seal is not affixed.
(f) Those sheets on which the signatures of the circulator or the notary are dated earlier than the dates on which the electors signed the face of the petition sheet.
(g) Those sheets that are circulated by a circulator who is prohibited from participating in any election, initiative, referendum or recall campaign pursuant to section 19-119.01.
(h) Those sheets on which the circulator is required to be registered with the secretary of state pursuant to section 19-118 and the circulator is not properly registered at the time the petitions were circulated.
2. After completing the steps in paragraph 1 of this subsection, review each sheet to determine the county of the majority of the signers and shall:
(a) Place a three or four letter abbreviation designating that county on the face of the petition.
(b) Remove all signatures of those not in the county of the majority on each sheet placing an adjacent mark or striking through the signature line.
(c) Cause all signature sheets to be grouped together by county of registration of the majority of those signing. The detached copies of the title and text of the measure shall be made available to the applicant but may be disposed of after a reasonable period of time.
3. After completing the steps in paragraph 2 of this subsection, remove the following signatures that are not eligible for verification by placing an adjacent mark or striking through the signature line:
(a) If the signature of the qualified elector is missing.
(b) If the residence address or the description of residence location is missing.
(c) If the date on which the petitioner signed is missing, if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is before the date that the serial number was assigned to the political committee that is filing the petition or if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is after the date on which the affidavit was completed by the circulator and notarized.
(d) Signatures in excess of the fifteen signatures permitted per petition.
(e) Signatures withdrawn pursuant to section 19-113.
(f) Signatures for which the secretary of state determines that the petition circulator has printed the elector's first and last names or other information in violation of section 19-112.
4. After the removal of petition sheets and signatures, count the number of signatures for verification on the remaining petition sheets and note that number on the face of each petition sheet.
5. Number the remaining petition sheets that were not previously removed and that contain signatures eligible for verification in consecutive order on the front side of each petition sheet.
6. Count all remaining petition sheets and signatures not previously removed and notify the applicant of this total number eligible for verification.
B. If the total number of signatures for verification as determined pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 6 of this section equals or exceeds the constitutional minimum, during the same twenty day period provided in subsection A of this section, the secretary of state shall select, at random, five percent of the total signatures eligible for verification by the county recorders of the counties in which the persons signing the petition claim to be qualified electors. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall be drawn in such a manner that every signature eligible for verification has an equal chance of being included in the sample. The random sample produced shall identify each signature selected by petition page and line number. The signatures selected shall be marked in a clear manner.
C. If a signature line selected for the random sample is found to be blank or was removed from the verification process pursuant to subsection A of this section then the next line down, even if that requires going to the next petition sheet in sequence, on which an eligible signature appears shall be selected as a substitute if that line has not already been selected for the random sample. If the next eligible line is already being used in the random sample, the secretary of state shall proceed back up the page from the signature line originally selected for the random sample to the next previous signature line eligible for verification. If that line is already being used in the random sample, the secretary of state shall continue moving down the page or to the next page from the line originally selected for the random sample and shall select the next eligible signature as its substitute for the random sample. The secretary of state shall use this process of alternately moving forward and backward until a signature eligible for verification and not already included in the random sample can be selected and substituted.
D. After the selection of the random sample and the marking of the signatures selected on the petition sheets pursuant to subsection B of this section, the secretary of state shall transmit a copy of the front of each signature sheet on which a signature included in the random sample appears. The secretary of state shall clearly identify those signatures marked for verification and shall transmit by personal delivery, certified mail, electronic mail or other electronic transfer method to each county recorder a copy of each signature sheet on which a signature appears of any individual who claims to be a qualified elector of that county and whose signature was selected for verification as part of the random sample.
E. The secretary of state shall presume that the date noted on the petition for a petitioner's signature is the date on which the petitioner signed the petition, and any person seeking to establish a different date for the signature bears the burden of proof in overcoming the presumption.
F. The secretary of state shall retain an electronic copy of all signature sheets except as otherwise prescribed in this title. After the time period for legal challenges has elapsed, the original sheets shall be made available to the applicant but may be disposed of after a reasonable period of time.