Anti-casino group: Enough signatures for ballot
BOSTON (AP) -- Casino opponents said Tuesday they've collected more than double the number of signatures they need to ask voters in November to repeal the state's 2011 casino law.
Repeal the Casino Deal said in a statement it will file signature papers representing more than 26,000 registered Massachusetts voters to local city and town halls by Wednesday's deadline. The group has already submitted about 90,000 signatures for an earlier deadline.
The announcement comes as the state Supreme Judicial Court continues to weigh whether a repeal question should be placed on the ballot.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley has ruled that the repeal question would violate the state constitution because it represents a taking of gambling operators' property rights without compensation. Repeal the Casino Deal then appealed the ruling to the state's highest court. A decision is expected before July 9.
State law requires 68,911 signatures submitted in the first phase of the process and about 11,485 in the second.
Once submitted to local election officials, the voter signatures are sent to the Secretary of State's Office for certification. If the legal requirements are met, the question can then be placed on the ballot.
Anti-casino forces have been ramping up lately in anticipation of a favorable court ruling.
Repeal the Casino Deal announced this month that it had tapped seasoned political operatives to take two key campaign posts -- manager and fundraiser -- revamped their website and united local casino-opposition groups into a statewide organization.
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