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Jun 8, 2010 9:59 PM by Dan Boyce

Petitioners irk some county voters

Those taking the trip to the polls for the classic voting experience are being greeted by a familiar primary presence. But does it go too far?

Petitioners waited outside several polling places Tuesday, like the fairgrounds, hoping to grab voter signatures.

County Elections Administrator Charlotte Mills says advocates are working to get 10 different initiatives on the November ballot. She says the gatherers have every right to be in or around the polling places, but adds she has received complaints from frustrated voters.

"Some of the voters are a little upset because they have to go the gauntlet of the petition signers to get into the fairgrounds," Mills said.

The county can issue a formal complaint if election officials feel the voting process is being impeded by the petitioners.

But Shelly Heilweil said she is doing nothing wrong. She is promoting I-164, which seeks to cap interest rates charged by payday, title and retail lenders. She said there may be a couple of contentious issues, but that everyone is following the law.

"A lot of what it is is people are stressed and overburdened and they see a ballot initiative as unwanted intrusion, they don't realize it's part of the democratic process," Heilweil said.

Petitioners must gather over 24,000 signatures by June 18 to get an initiative on the November ballot.

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