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Personhood Mississippi Files Lawsuit for Historic Ballot Access Initiative

by Staff
February 4, 2010
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JACKSON, Miss., ( -- Personhood Mississippi, a grassroots organization working to recognize the personhood rights of all preborn children, filed a lawsuit today naming Attorney General Jim Hood and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in their official capacities.

Personhood Mississippi has been working since February 13, 2009 to collect signatures for a ballot access initiative that would put an amendment to Mississippi's voters in 2011. The amendment states: "The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof."

The lawsuit, which is to be filed by attorney Stephen Crampton today, will be filed in an attempt to clarify the intent of the law, giving volunteers the full twelve months to circulate petitions as outlined by statutes and the County Clerk the time needed to correctly validate the signatures.

"We are confident that we are well on our way to putting Personhood on the ballot," stated Personhood Mississippi sponsor Les Riley. "This lawsuit is simply to ensure that the valid signatures are recognized by the state. Our volunteers have worked hard to submit so many valid signatures, and we want to ensure that every voice is heard."

The need for a lawsuit arose when a large portion of valid signatures were wrongly discounted by some County Circuit Clerk's offices.

"I noticed that my father's signature was marked as invalid, yet he is a registered voter and his information was correct," accounted Buddy Hariston, a Personhood Mississippi Volunteer Coordinator. "This prompted me to obtain my county's voter database, and I was shocked to see that about three out of every four discounted signatures were actually legitimate. It seems that the County Circuit Clerk's office has too short a timeframe to complete the verification process with precision."

Personhood volunteers have worked around the clock for the past eleven months to obtain sufficient signatures from each county.

"The Mississippi Constitution guarantees us twelve full months to collect signatures on the petition, but the law is not being applied that way," explained Attorney Stephen Crampton. "The people of Mississippi deserve an opportunity to let their voice be heard, and our circuit clerks need the time required to do their job."

Personhood Mississippi has until February 12, 2010 to get 89,285 valid signatures

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