Anti-Vaccine Referendum Falls Short on Signatures

Tim Donnelly (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

After an initial internal signature tally, it appears the California referendum effort to repeal mandatory school vaccinations will fail to meet the number required to make the November 2016 ballot.

Supporters of the referendum needed 365,880 signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot. However, the referendum campaign only gathered 200,000 by the September 28 deadline, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Signatures were due no later than Monday. The tally thus far from the Secretary of State’s office was 42,476 and counting as of Wednesday at 4:40pm.

In June, the California legislature passed SB 277, ending parental discretion in vaccinating one’s own school age children. The law did away with “personal belief” waivers that had allowed parents to opt their children out of vaccinations otherwise mandated for entrance to private or public school. Under SB 277, California will become one of three states with the most restrictive childhood vaccine laws in the country.

The measure was met with an unusually large amount of contention for a piece of legislation in California. Hundreds, possibly thousands, made the pilgrimage to Sacramento to oppose the bill during its life in the State Assembly and Senate. A red sea of opposition numbering in at least the hundreds wrapped through the Capitol building in Sacramento for a committee hearing Breitbart News covered on site in June.

The deed was finally done when California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on June 30. The law is set to go into effect in July 2016, in time for the 2016-17 school year.

The SB 277 opposition effort then coalesced around the referendum spearheaded by none other than former California Assemblyman and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly. Now hosting a weekday radio program, The Tim Donnelly Show, Donnelly announced the referendum campaign within two days of Brown’s approval of the vaccine legislation.. “This is we, the people, exercising the people’s veto,” Donnelly told Breitbart News at the time.

On Wednesday night, Donnelly took to social media in an attempt to put rumors about the campaign’s failures to rest. “We are now tracking the source of any possible malfeasance, and working to investigate whether any petitions were sabotaged, or whether or not there is an alternate explanation.”

Social media commenters have been littering the Internet with accusations, including that some petitions may have gone missing. Donnelly pledged that any remaining crowd-funded dollars from the campaign would be handled via the state’s financial reporting guidelines.

The largely volunteer effort had spanned the state with petition gatherers showing up at a variety of events and locations. Volunteers, like those seen coming out to anti-SB 277 rallies as the bill passed through the legislature, came from a wide array of political perspectives, working together for the focused purpose of putting down the vaccine mandate.

The signatures are still being tallied and the ultimate fate of the referendum will be determined with the Secretary of State’s official signature count.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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