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Wilmington questions 165 signatures on ballpark petition; organizers surprised

READ MORE: Wilmington questions 165 signatures on ballpark petition; organizers surprised

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A petition against a taxpayer-funded ballpark in Wilmington has hit another bump in the road. City officials have asked the New Hanover County Board of Elections to further analyze more than 160 names on the petition.

Elections Director Marvin McFadyden says the city has called 165 names from the petition into question. McFadyen says 104 of the names on the petition have questionable signatures and 61 of them have incorrect dates of birth.

Petition organizer Joshua Fulton was surprised to learn about the newest hurdle.

"Frustrated for sure," Fulton said. "We had been told that it was the Board of Elections' soul duty to verify the signatures, and now it seems like the city is kind of trying to take a backdoor route to verifying them themselves."

Fulton says he would be shocked if the city prohibited him from submitting more signatures or a revised petition. He does believe it is reasonable for some signatures to get rejected, but he says it is not his job to verify them.

"It's really (the Board of Elections') job to affirm the identity of these people, that they're really citizens," he said. "It'd be impossible for us to do that."

Fulton still has hopes of getting his citizen-initiated ordinance on the November ballot, but he says he feels like the Board of Elections is trying to get them to jump through hoops to do it.

The city attorney says petitioners can still submit more names until the Board of Elections closes the process. No word on when that could happen.

The Board of Elections hopes to have a decision on the questioned signatures by Monday. That's one day before City Council meets again. Council is slated to talk about a bond referendum in November for up to $42 million to pay for the ballpark.

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