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City attorney discusses petition verification process

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — The City of Sheridan has begun the "onerous process of going through ... signatures" on a petition submitted to the city calling for a special election on city administrator issue , City Attorney Greg Von Krosigk told the Sheridan City Council at a regular meeting Monday. The City must make sure all signatures meet statutory requirements, Von Krosigk said. The petition was received on Wed., Dec. 16, and the City asked the Sheridan County Clerk for a list of qualified electors within the City of Sheridan, as of Dec. 16, shortly thereafter. "We received that list on late Friday. Since then, our city clerk has begun (Monday) the sort of onerous process of going through those signatures and making sure they meet statutory requirements. That process is going to take awhile," Von Krosigk said. "There is not a real easy way to do that on a computer," he continued. "It is a good, old fashioned (process where you) lay the county list down, lay the petition down and try to read the signatures, try to read people's names ... some of them are going to be easy to match right up, some are going to be difficult." The City will use Wyoming Constitution Article 13 and the Wyoming Election Code 22-23-1000 top guide its next steps, he said. "The body of law that guides us, that requires us to take the next step, is pretty bare," Von Krosigk told the council. "There is not a lot to it. It is pretty basic. In some respects, that is good. It is relatively easy to follow. In other respects, it doesn't give us a step-by-step guidance on things." To be valid, the petition must be filed in a timely fashion to the adoption of City Ordinance 21-58, which passed in October and would allow for the hire of a city administrator. The petition must also set forth the text of Ord. 21-58, which is being challenged in the petition. The signatures also have to be from qualified electors that are registered in the City, and they must be from registered voters as of Dec. 16, 2015, when the petition was filed. The signatures and residents' addresses must be included in the petition. "Statutorily ... our next step as a city government is we have to verify that the petition meets the law, the statute and its requirements," Von Krosigk said. He said the City has asked that the County Attorney provide some oversight into the process to make sure it is done appropriately. "In that process, we will make a list of names that meet the requirement, a list of names that we can't tell and we will sort through those names in a reasonable manner," Von Krosigk said. The City has 30 days from the date the petition was filed to determine whether the petition is valid, and whether the City will need to call an election. That deadline is Jan. 15. The next regular council meeting is Jan. 4. "City staff plans to have gone through the verification process and report to (Council) prior to Jan. 4," Von Krosigk said Monday. "You have until Jan. 15 to either declare the petition invalid or declare it valid and declare a vote." The vote must then happen within 90 days of when the petition was filed, and that 90 day deadline is March 15. *Feature photo: Vicki Taylor collects signatures outside the Sheridan Post Office this fall. h/t Paul Birkholz / Pitchengine Communities* #dally #news