Most signatures on petition to recall Ferguson mayor invalid: official

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2015 6:23 PM

(Reuters) - A group that wants to recall the mayor of a Missouri town where an unarmed black teen was killed by a policeman last summer needs to try again, after more than half the signatures on the recall petition were declared invalid, an official said on Tuesday.

The group of activists pushing for the recall of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III submitted 1,008 valid signatures - 806 short of the 1,814 needed to get a recall on a city ballot, said Eric Fey, director of the St. Louis County Board of Elections.

A total of 1,125 signatures were declared invalid for various reasons - 562 were not registered voters in St. Louis County, and 366 were not registered voters in Ferguson, Fey said.

The Ferguson city clerk must issue a certificate notifying petitioners of the validity issues, according to the city. Petitioners then have two days to file an intent to file an amended petition, and 10 days to file the additional signatures.

An organizer known as "Ferguson Activist Phil" said the group will file the additional signatures.

Knowles, who is white in the majority black city, said in a statement that he understands the rights of the petitioners.

"But for as long as I am Mayor, I will continue to work with Council and Staff to bring together the citizens of Ferguson, and to move our community forward with the many reforms and initiatives that we have been working on for several months,” Knowles said.

White police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb on Aug. 9. The incident sparked months of protests that raised questions about the role of race in U.S. policing.

The incident also focused attention on Ferguson's government, where traffic tickets are a major source of revenue and have been a source of racial tensions.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Eric Beech)