Counties to check samples of referendum signatures

PHOENIX (AP) - State election officials have completed an initial step in determining whether opponents of an election law approved by the Legislature will go on Arizona's 2014 ballot.

Opponents filed that they said were more than 146,000 voter signatures on petitions to force a referendum.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times ( ), Secretary of State's Office spokesman Matt Robert says samples from just over 139,000 signatures are being sent to counties for checks.

That's after the state tossed hundreds of petitions sheets as well as individual signatures for technical reasons.

The legislation seeks to trim Arizona's permanent early voting list and limit who may return mail-in ballots for voters. It also ups the number of signatures third-party candidates must gather to appear on the ballot, among a host of other provisions.

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